A new poll has shown that nearly 75% of Australians believe the federal government should follow through on plans to open the country’s borders once the country is vaccinated against Covid-19.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday that vaccinations alone were “no guarantee that you can open yourself up” – meaning Australia could take years to fully reopen to the rest of the world. world.
“If the whole country was vaccinated, you couldn’t just open the borders,” he said.
The announcement followed months of promises the country would open once millions of Australians were vaccinated against the deadly virus.
The cautious approach has been criticized by both business leaders and political commentators for turning Australia into a ‘prison island’.
A Daily Mail Australia reader poll following Mr Hunt’s admission found only 26% wanted to keep borders closed once Australians got the hang of it.
Sydney International Airport passengers arrive after a flight from Auckland, New Zealand, September 18, 2020
In contrast, 74% felt it was best to open up when the country’s population had gained immunity to Covid-19.
The findings follow Sky News host Rita Panahi saying the move would actually be a deterrent to getting the vaccine.
“It’s a terrible message to send because it discourages people from getting vaccinated,” said Rita Panahi, host of Sky News.
“It basically means we’re always going to be closed off from the rest of the world.
“It’s a terrible policy. How long can we stay on a prison island? At some point, we have to reach out to the rest of the world.
Lawyer Liz Hicks accused the government of “shifting the targets” by previously touting vaccines as a ticket for Australians to the outside world.
RN Rebecca DeJong receives COVID-19 vaccine injection, administered by RN Morgan Sleader at Townsville University Hospital on March 5, 2021
An international traveler carries his luggage to the Intercontinental Hotel on April 8 in Melbourne (pictured) – with severe restrictions preventing most Australians from traveling abroad
Fears grow that highly infectious ‘mutant strains’ seen in the UK, South Africa and Brazil could also make vaccines less effective in years to come, after an Israeli study this week found that “Revolutionary infections” were possible after receiving the dose.
These mutant variants are part of the reasons Mr Hunt and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have warned that widespread use of current vaccines may not be enough to open borders.
No coronavirus vaccine, including the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines that Australia relies on, is 100% effective against the deadly virus.
A passenger wearing a face mask arrives at Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney from New Zealand (pictured) – the only country in the world where Australians can travel
“If the whole country were vaccinated, you couldn’t just open the borders,” Greg Hunt (pictured) said Tuesday.
With more than 23 million cases still active worldwide, Mr Morrison made no apologies for playing it safe.
“It is not safe at this time to open our international borders. All over the world, COVID-19 is still rampant, ”he said on Monday.
“We are still seeing an increase in daily cases, especially in developing countries… but around the world the situation remains very dangerous because of Covid.
In January, the Prime Minister said vaccination in 2021 was “a key part” of Australia’s handling of the pandemic, and previously said it would be as “mandatory as possible”.
He even said that if vaccines were effective in preventing transmission, borders could open sooner than expected – but they are no longer the case.
“The key thing that I think will impact this decision will be whether any evidence emerges on transmissibility and how the vaccine protects against it,” Morrison said in February 2021.