Australia likely to keep borders shut till 2022 end: Minister

WION Web Team
Sydney, Australia Published: May 07, 2021, 11:14 AM(IST)

Coronavirus in Australia (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

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People who will be allowed to enter the country, under selected situations, will be asked to go through a compulsory hotel quarantine for 14 days

In a bid to keep citizens safe and assure the country stays coronavirus free, Australia might keep its international borders shut till late 2022.

Saying it would be "very hard to determine" when the Australian borders would reopen to international travellers, Australia's trade and tourism minister Dan Tehan, on Friday, said, "the best guess would be in the middle to the second half of next year".

Also read | Australia to send repatriation flights for stranded citizens in India

On average, nearly one million short-term visitors used to enter the country in a month before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world. However, the figure has now been reduced to 7,000.

People who will be allowed to enter the country, under selected situations, will be asked to go through a compulsory hotel quarantine for 14 days.

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Tehan also jumped to the rescue of the Prime Minister’s decision of a blanket ban on travellers coming from India and said such a ban is still essential to make sure the country stays covid-free. However, after facing immense backlash on the strict penalties, Morrison has decided to start repatriation flights from May 15, for people stuck in India during the covid crisis.

He also talked about the recently-established travel bubble with the neighbouring country, New Zealand, which has received mixed responses from locals.

"The hope would be that we might be able to see a few more bubbles set up and we'd be able to see more travel undertaken, but we're in a pandemic," he said. "It's going to very much depend on how we are able to deal with the global pandemic."

Australia is also hoping to pace up the vaccination programme as only 2.5 million coronavirus vaccines have been administered will now, in a population of 25 million.

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