8 FEBRUARY 2021
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In spite of the Australian Open Tennis tournament starting today (8 January), with the overseas sports circus descending on Melbourne, the chances of easy travel to ‘down under’ this year seems remote.
AFP reports that Australia plans to keep a mandatory two-week quarantine for all overseas visitors, even as vaccinations are rolled out across the country and the world.
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly said that there is still not enough evidence about vaccines’ ability to limit transmission to allow the dismantling of border controls that have virtually closed the country off from the world for almost a year. Most non-citizens are barred from entering Australia; there are strict caps on how many residents can return each day and anyone who does so must undergo two weeks of self-paid hotel quarantine.
A few thousand short-term visitors now enter the country every month, down from more than one million before the pandemic began.
Asked if quarantine would remain until further notice, Kelly said: “At the moment, that two-week quarantine in hotels – as has been so successful up till now – remains regardless of vaccination.”
Meanwhile Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the Government would very slightly ease the caps on overseas arrivals and look into expanding capacity at an existing government-run Outback quarantine camp and developing more facilities. The news will come as a blow to Australia’s tourism industry, worth roughly US$50bn a year. Australia has almost no current cases of community transmission and expects to begin vaccinations this month.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Barry Graham, Washington
The idea of refusing to accept the vaccine as a cure is beyond belief. Such thinking would condemn the world to an eternal life of masks and social distancing. Fortunately, as with the fall of other crazy leaders, G-d will eventually see that these fools lose their grace and normalcy will return.