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Australian ambassador to the US suggests borders could stay shut until entire WORLD is vaccinated

Pictured: US Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos

Australia’s man in Washington has suggested the border could stay shut until the entire world is vaccinated.

US Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos told an online forum for the Hudson Institute that although border closures are costing Australia’s economy billions, it might be years before citizens get on a plane or return home without having to quarantine.

There were hopes that when Australia’s Covid vaccine rollout is completed late this year the border shutdown, which has been in effect since March, 2020, would come to a end.

But Mr Sinodinos said it may take a lot longer given how scared Australians citizens are and how popular strict lockdown measures have become with the public as a result – giving politicians plenty of incentive to support them.

Passengers in Perth from Qantas flight QF583 are escorted to waiting buses by Police Officers

Passengers in Perth from Qantas flight QF583 are escorted to waiting buses by Police Officers

Australia's man in Washington has suggested that Australia's border could remain shut until the entire world is vaccinated

Australia’s man in Washington has suggested that Australia’s border could remain shut until the entire world is vaccinated

Poll

Should Australia keep the border closed until the whole world is vaccinated?

  • Yes, even if it takes until 2023 2 votes
  • Yes, but open next year if it takes too long 1 votes
  • No, open when we are vaccinated 1 votes

‘Until the world as a whole is vaccinated, and I’m thinking here of India, and other places, then we’re never going to be completely out of this,’ he said.

‘This is a genuine externality problem, or public good problem, where we’re all in this together and people in developing countries being vaccinated is as important as people in our own countries being vaccinated.’

With the highest case numbers in the world in the US, there has been ‘a real urgency’ to get vaccinated for public health reasons, he said.

Mr Sinodinos said Australia has not faced the same pressures because case numbers have been far lower.

‘For us there’s a real economic imperative to getting borders open,’ he said.

‘We have major industries like international education which require people coming in, immigration has been a big driver of Australian growth and that’s really tailed off.’

Waiting until the whole world, including hard-hit developing countries like India, is vaccinated could trap Australians at home until well into 2022 or even 2023. 

Pictured: Arrivals at Ballina Airport under Covid screening checks by a health worker

Pictured: Arrivals at Ballina Airport under Covid screening checks by a health worker

Passengers arrive on a Qantas flight from Melbourne at Sydney Airport to be met by health officials taking their temperature (pictured) with domestic travel back on across the country - but there's no end in sight for international border closures

Passengers arrive on a Qantas flight from Melbourne at Sydney Airport to be met by health officials taking their temperature (pictured) with domestic travel back on across the country – but there’s no end in sight for international border closures

Although the federal government has described vaccines as the ‘best hope’ to keep Australia’s economy ‘moving and connected’ – its also admitted it isn’t prepared to hang the nation’s global reopening on the jab.

‘Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up,’ Health Minister Greg Hunt said earlier this month.

‘If the whole country were vaccinated, you couldn’t just open the borders.

‘We still have to look at a series of different factors: Transmission, longevity [of vaccine protection] and the global impact – and those are factors which the world is learning about.’

Australians could face unprecedented measures to prevent people returning from Covid-stricken India including jail time. Pictured are funeral pyres of coronavirus victims burning in New Delhi as relatives perform last rites at a crematorium

Australians could face unprecedented measures to prevent people returning from Covid-stricken India including jail time. Pictured are funeral pyres of coronavirus victims burning in New Delhi as relatives perform last rites at a crematorium

India's Covid-19 crisis spiked out of control this week with daily deaths exceeding 3,000. In this photo relatives wearing PPE carry the body of a loved one

India’s Covid-19 crisis spiked out of control this week with daily deaths exceeding 3,000. In this photo relatives wearing PPE carry the body of a loved one

Australia on Saturday made it illegal to fly home from Covid-ravaged India under threat of five years in jail at a $66,600 fine.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the unprecedented and draconian restriction on Saturday morning, which will begin at 12.01am on Monday.

The emergency law, invoked under the Biosecurity Act, could see anyone who has been in India in the past 14 days charged with a crime.

It is also the first time in history the Australian Government has used any kind of emergency powers for that purpose.

At the moment, the only overseas designation Australians can travel to without express permission, or return from without having to quarantine is New Zealand.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton receives his first COVID-19 vaccination at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton on April 21, 2021 in Melbourne

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton receives his first COVID-19 vaccination at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton on April 21, 2021 in Melbourne

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