Scott Morrison says he sympathizes with the travel industry seeking to reopen Australia’s international border, but does not yet have the guidance it needs to do so.
The Australian Tourism Export Council said on Wednesday that maintaining international border closures “is no longer a viable or sensible approach” to containing COVID-19 and is hurting the tourism, hospitality and hospitality sectors. Agriculture.
The Prime Minister told reporters in Sydney that an initial opening to backpackers and some visa holders had been successful.
“The key question I have instructed our health officials to advise me on when opening the border to international arrivals is the impact this could have on the hospital system and the pressures that could come from additional people coming into the country right now,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said he sympathized with industry leaders such as Qantas boss Alan Joyce.
“He knows my very strong commitment to getting to this point as quickly and safely as possible, so I look forward to making progress on this,” the prime minister said.
“I’m optimistic about it, but cautiously optimistic, like you expect me to be.”
ATEC chief executive Peter Shelley said Australia now has a higher COVID infection rate than either the UK or the US.
“Given that everyone arriving in Australia must be fully vaccinated and tested, there is simply no greater health risk that would result from our international borders reopening – rather it would bring huge relief to a sector already overstretched and struggling tourism,” Mr Shelley said. noted.
“The hermit kingdom approach to protecting our borders is no longer viable and we urgently need guidance from the government on when we can welcome international visitors.”
Australian Associated Press