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Sir Richard Branson urges Australian government to speed up vaccine rollout and reopen borders

Billionaire Richard Branson shames Australia over its slow Covid-19 vaccine rollout and warns that ‘every single person will be held back and the economy will suffer’

  • Sir Richard Branson urged government to treat vaccine rollout as its top priority
  • The billionaire said borders would reopen the sooner people were vaccinated
  • ‘Nothing else matters more to be honest,’ he said during interview on Monday
  • He said keeping borders closed would do more harm than good for the economy 

Billionaire Richard Branson has warned the federal government needs to step up its vaccine rollout so it can reopen international borders and revive the economy.

The Virgin Group founder said the government needed to treat the rollout as its top priority during an interview on Channel Nine’s Today on Monday.

‘Nothing else matters more to be honest,’ he said. ‘Because every single business in Australia will be held back. 

‘Every single person in Australia will be held back. The economy will suffer.’

Billionaire Richard Branson (pictured, during interview on Today on Monday) has warned the federal government needs to step up its vaccine rollout so it can reopen international borders and revive the economy 

The Virgin Group founder said the government needed to treat the rollout as its top priority during an interview on Channel Nine's Today Show on Monday

The Virgin Group founder said the government needed to treat the rollout as its top priority during an interview on Channel Nine’s Today Show on Monday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously stated Australians must be fully vaccinated against the virus before the government even considers reopening the borders.

They are expected to remain closed until at least mid-2022 despite hopes from the government to have everyone vaccinated by Christmas. 

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka stirred controversy after saying the country should reopen sooner even if it meant some people died from the virus. 

‘Some people may die, but it will be way smaller than with the flu,’ she said. 

The comment was slammed by Mr Morrison who said it was insensitive to the 910 people who had already lost their lives to Covid-19.

Sir Richard stepped in to defend Ms Hrdlicka saying ‘we’ve all regretted things we’ve said.’

‘And I don’t think Jane is any exception to the rule,’ he added.

‘She’s made that clear. She’s doing a great job in keeping Virgin Australia going.’

Sir Richard has warned the closure of international borders will continue to wreak havoc on the Australian economy (stock image)

Sir Richard has warned the closure of international borders will continue to wreak havoc on the Australian economy (stock image)

Prime minister Scott Morrison has previously stated Australians must be fully vaccinated against the virus before the government even considers reopening the borders (pictured, passengers greet each other with an elbow bump at Sydney International Airport)

Prime minister Scott Morrison has previously stated Australians must be fully vaccinated against the virus before the government even considers reopening the borders (pictured, passengers greet each other with an elbow bump at Sydney International Airport)

Sir Richard said it was absolutely important Australians were vaccinated as soon as possible so life could return to normal.

‘The sooner the remaining people who have not been vaccinated get vaccinated the better.’ 

The vaccine rollout has ramped up with 500,000 doses delivered in just one week.

A total of 3.6million doses have been distributed – short of the projected four million that had been initially promised by the end of March by the government.  

The government continues to press the case for people to get the jab as soon as they are eligible.

Over 50s have been able to get an AstraZeneca jab over the past couple of weeks, although there are concerns some may wait until later in the year for the Pfizer vaccine when 20 million doses arrive over the fourth quarter.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka stirred controversy after saying the country should reopen sooner even if it meant some people died from the virus

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka stirred controversy after saying the country should reopen sooner even if it meant some people died from the virus 

Ten million Moderna doses are also due later in the year. 

Mr Morrison suggested last week fully vaccinated travellers should be exempt from hard lockdowns and internal border controls but most states have dismissed the plan.

The vaccine rollout, quarantining and the opening of international borders are likely to be high on the agenda of debate when federal parliament sits this week in the run-up to national cabinet on Friday.     

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk