Scott Morrison reveals what it will take for international travel to restart - and says he'll stick to the 'Australian path' of aggressive virus suppression - after flying to G7 summit
The prime minister is attending the G7 summit in Cornwall in the UK as an observer and told reporters on Sunday that Australia wouldn't change its virus approach.
He said his government hadn't set a target on the number of Australians who need to be vaccinated before international travel resumes. He said this would only occur 'when the medical advice suggests we should'.
Mr Morrison said he would 'rather be living in the arrangements we have in Australia than anywhere else in the world' and that the UK, despite a high vaccination rate, was still recording high numbers of new cases.
Australia's suppression strategy has kept the nation's borders closed and seen states go into lockdown over a handful of cases.
'At this stage of the pandemic, it is not clear where it goes next... (given) the potential for new strains and other things to occur,' Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said Australians can 'go to sporting games, or they can go to work, they can live in an economy that is bigger today than it was before'.
Australians have been banned from leaving the country since March 2020 without special exemptions, and only citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to enter under some of the strictest Covid-19 border rules in the world.
Last year, the Federal Government predicted international borders would be open in October 2021 after the adult population had been offered a vaccine.
However, in May, Scott Morrison announced the date would be pushed back to mid-2022, even as other highly-vaccinated countries such as the US and UK start to open their borders.
He said the date was revised amid the slow vaccine rollout and uncertainty over the Covid-19 vaccine's ability to protect against mutating strains of the virus.
Mr Morrison's travel update comes after Melbourne emerged from a two-week lockdown on Friday, but restrictions on home gatherings, travel and mask use remain in place.
Victoria recorded two new cases on Monday out of almost 17,000 tests, and four more in hotel quarantine.
There was one new local case on Sunday, a close contact of a case linked to the Arcare Maidstone outbreak who has been quarantining throughout their infectious period. They are not an aged care resident.
Authorities continue to investigate the single new case reported on Saturday, a man in his 30s from City of Melbourne with a young family.
About 2,000 people are currently quarantining across Victoria.
Meanwhile, there is growing optimism Queensland will be spared an outbreak after a couple arrived from Melbourne while they were infected.
There were no new locally-acquired cases reported in Queensland on Saturday or Sunday, with local police yet to interview the couple.
There were 5,834,746 vaccines administered to Friday nationwide.
Australia's borders: What we know
- In March 2020, Australia closed its international borders with the rest of the world, only allowing citizens and permanent residents to leave or enter under special exemptions
- Later that year, the Federal Government announced the borders would reopen in October 2021 as Australia's adult population had been offered a vaccine
- In April this year, Australia's vaccine rollout program was thrown into chaos after the country's main vaccine supply AstraZeneca was linked to rare blood-clotting condition thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, and revised to only be administered to those over 50
- The following month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced borders would not open until mid-2022
- He said the date was revised amid the slow vaccine rollout and uncertainty over the Covid-19 vaccine's ability to protect against mutating strains of the virus
- The government has so far shied away from revealing a threshold on how many Australians would be needed for international travel to resume
- On Sunday, Mr Morrison revealed his government has not set a target for the number of vaccinations that would need to be administered before the nation's borders reopen
- He said this would only occur 'when the medical advice suggests we should'