Once again, we are asking you to stop planning any future international travel. Got a gals / lads trip to Bali planned for the end of 2020? Can it. Have a European wedding on the horizon? You might need to buy something expensive from the registry instead. International travel is off the cards.
The reason we’re saying this again is because Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told an inquiry there was “no clear road map” to Australia opening up international travel again, which does not bode well for jet-setting activities.
In fact, keeping our borders closed is vital to defeating COVID-19 and returning Australia to some sort of normal.
“Two thirds of our cases have been overseas acquired and recent analysis in academic literature has shown that those countries that have done the best have introduced border measures,” Murphy told an inquiry into the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I cannot see border measures materially changing for some time and that presents a huge problem for the nation.
Basically, it all comes down to where we get to in finding a vaccine, and how other countries are dealing with the virus (which sit on a scale from good – Taiwan – to morally reprehensible – the United States).
“There is no clear road map out of this, we have a strategy of maintaining strong suppression, potentially elimination in some parts of country while we relax restriction,” Murphy said.
Australia will continue to reassess every few months and see where the situation stands, he added.
“I have no vision at the moment on the current international scene where strong border measures won’t be necessary … the world situation will evolve over many months.”
That doesn’t sound much like you’ll be popping to Europe any time in the near future. In fact, one research group reckons travel as we know it won’t resume until 2023.
However, there is a possibility you’ll be able to visit New Zealand. Under the three steps to reopen Australia outlined by Scott Morrison last Friday, Step 3 is when the government will start looking at the possibility of trans-Tasman travel.
Until Step 3 (which we’re expected to hit in July), the only border restrictions being lifted are those on the states, so at least you’ll be able to travel around Australia.
It’s frustrating, and not just for fun holiday reasons: it throws up questions for international students, international trade, people with family overseas and anyone trying to move to or from Australia. It’s obviously incredibly necessary, but it still blows.