Scott Morrison has dashed the hopes of keen travellers once again, warning that there’s “no finish line” when it comes to the virus.
Scott Morrison has dashed the hopes of keen travellers once again, warning that there’s “no finish line” when it comes to the virus.

PM’s crushing border warning

Scott Morrison has warned Australians campaigning to reopen international borders that there's "no finish line" on the virus and to consider the example of Britain, where 4000 daily cases are now being recorded despite the majority of adults being vaccinated.

The Prime Minister has issued the grim warning as he prepares to fly out of Australia today to Singapore amid hopes of expanding a "travel bubble" to regions that remain comparably safe in terms of the coronavirus and to attend G7 talks in the UK.

As new variants spark fears of a third wave in London, world leaders are grappling with the reality that the first generation of vaccines are less effective against the new, virulent and more easily transmissible Delta or Indian variant.

The Prime Minister said it was time Australians keen to resume international travel know that they may need to get used to much higher daily case numbers.

"I mean, and I'll tell you why. I mean, you go to, where I'm heading to the UK. I mean, they have vaccination rates in the 70s and with their older population even higher than that. And they have 4000 cases a day, daily. 4000 cases a day," Mr Morrison said.

Speaking on Perth radio 6PR, the host Liam Bartlett then interrupted to note "they have borders open to a lot more countries than we do".

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"Exactly, so if you're suggesting that we should be aiming for a position where we can have 4000 cases a day, then no, I don't think Australians would agree with you," he said.

"I'll tell you what's real, I'll tell you what's real. Vaccination rates in the UK of over 70 per cent and over 4000 cases a day.

"Vaccination rates where I'm going today in Singapore are over 40 per cent, and they are in lockdown. So what we've always learnt from this pandemic is there are no absolutes. The virus writes the rules."

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Last year Mr Morrison said he didn't’t want Australia to “live under a doona” because of the pandemic. Picture: NCA NewsWire/James Gourley
Last year Mr Morrison said he didn't’t want Australia to “live under a doona” because of the pandemic. Picture: NCA NewsWire/James Gourley

Last year, Mr Morrison said he didn't want Australia to "live under a doona" because of the pandemic. The Prime Minister said he stood by the comments.

"I don't wish to see us doing this for any longer than it's absolutely possible in terms of having our borders shut," he said.

"But our borders will remain shut as long as it's in Australia's interests, to protect the health of Australians."

Mr Morrison said there was no "magical vaccination figure" that would allow the borders to reopen.

"There's no medical advice that I've received at any point in time, which gives a magical number of vaccinations that enable you to provide that level of assuredness to Australians about when that can occur," he said.

Mr Morrison's comments come as Australia officially extended the ban on outbound international air travel and cruise ship travel today.

The emergency period, which has been in place since March 18, 2020 will now continue until September 17, 2021.

However, the federal budget made clear that international travel is not expected to return to anything approaching normal until mid-2022.

The extension, approved by the Governor-General, means the four existing emergency determinations will be maintained until September including:

• Mandatory pre-departure testing and mask wearing for international flights

• Restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory

• Restrictions on outbound international travel for Australians

• Restrictions on trade of retail outlets at international airports.

 

Originally published as PM's crushing border warning


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