Australia’s chief medical officer has warned that international travel was unlikely to happen for Australians in 2021.
At a press conference yesterday, January 19, CMO Paul Kelly reiterated comments made earlier in the week by his predecessor, Professor Brendan Murphy, that international travel was most likely off the cards for this year.
When asked on ABC News Breakfast what the likelihood was the international border would reopen this year, Professor Murphy acknowledged it was a “big question”.
“I think that the answer is probably no,” he said. “I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions, even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated. We don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus.”
In yesterday’s briefing, Kelly said, “We are in such an envious position at the moment compared with the rest of the world. And so, unfortunately, I think international borders changes are probably going to be one of the last things to change rather than the first.”
However, Kelly also noted that Australians can expect a return to “some kind of normal’ in 2021, and that there was the possibility of establishing more bilateral travel arrangements like the trans-Tasman ‘bubble’ that allows for travel between Australia and New Zealand.
Kelly’s initial comments came after Qantas announced that it was bringing forward the resumption of flights to the US and the UK bu a couple of month, while also delaying the restart of flights to some Asian destinations to July 1.