Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the country will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Morrison said in an interview with News Corp Sunday newspapers that there is no “appetite” among Australians to re-open the country’s borders to international travelers as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world.
“I don’t see an appetite for that at the moment,” he said. “I think what we’re seeing at the moment is the appreciation of the people that the pandemic isn’t going anywhere.”
“All I know is once you let it (COVID-19) back in again, you cannot get it out. You’ve crossed that threshold.”
The government has previously said that the borders will re-open once the adult population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, Morrison said that he could not guarantee that would be the case.
He said there was not yet “considerable clinical evidence that tells us transmission is preventable.”
“I think Australians want to ensure that the way we’re living at the moment is maintained.”
As of Sunday morning, there had been 2.63 million vaccines administered in Australia.
The government initially planned to vaccinate the entire population by October but hopes were dashed after the early stages of the rollout were plagued by supply issues.
In the meantime, Morrison said the government was continuing to work on how vaccinated people could be given greater freedoms.
“The next big step that can be taken is that Australians who are vaccinated, based on clear evidence that this prevents transmissibility, are able to travel and return to Australia without having to hotel quarantine, and ideally we only have to engage in some sort of home quarantine of a less restrictive nature,” he said.