Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it’s possible the delay to the 1 December reopening of international borders due to the new variant Omicron could be resolved in under a fortnight.
Scott Morrison said at an even that the pause to the reopening of international borders could end earlier than expected.
“We’ve just pushed it back from 1 December until 15 December,” the Prime Minister said.
“It’s a temporary pause, and this is just simply to ensure we can gather information to understand better the Omicron variant, including the efficacy of vaccines and the range of illness which we can expect and the level of transmission.”
“Now, my expectation is that in a fortnight’s time, perhaps sooner, but I would think in a fortnight’s time, we’ll be able to press on,” the Prime Minister said.
“But there is very much a no regrets policy, and ensuring we just move carefully so we, the whole point here is to ensure that we can remain safely open, and we don’t want to prejudice anything that might compromise that objective.
“The goal here is not no cases and low cases, the goal here is ensuring that our hospital system is able to cope with the pressure.”
The Australian government was among the first countries to implement travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant of coronavirus. However, it has paused the planned easing of border restrictions for eligible visa holders, including international students, while awaiting further information on COVID-19’s Omicron.
The National Security Committee of cabinet decided to defer the plan to ease restrictions until 15 December following medical advice from the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.
The government says the temporary pause will gather more intelligence about the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. Further details are awaited.
Prime Minister has urged state governments not to resort to lockdowns again as the nation was close to fully vaccinated.
“We’re not going back to lockdowns, none of us wants that,” he said, adding, “We need to make calm decisions, not get spooked by this.”