Coronavirus: Australian PM says borders will open soon

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday said reopening the country’s borders to international tourists may not be far off, adding that parliament would debate the issue this week.

Australia, which closed its borders in March 2020, has undergone an incredible reopening in recent months, allowing only its citizens and residents, skilled migrants , international students and certain seasonal workers.

In January, Morrison said he hoped international borders could fully reopen before Easter.

However, his popularity has declined in recent months, partly reflecting questions about his handling of the outbreak of Omicron disease and how he faces pressure from an election. federal must be called in May.

While the highly transmissible variant of Omicron continues to spread, hospitalizations and deaths have stabilized, News Corp newspapers over the weekend citing unnamed sources as saying Australia could open back to the border within two or three weeks.

“We look forward to being able to make the decision to reopen our borders and welcome travelers back to Australia again as soon as we can safely and effectively,” Morrison said on Sunday. Japan. “But I really don’t believe that’s far-fetched.”

The first session of Australia’s parliament for 2022 will begin on Monday and Morrison said reopening the border to tourists would be resolved “very soon”.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Insider program on Sunday that the government was “very close” to a decision.

Australia, a country where nearly 95% of the eligible population aged 16 and over is vaccinated against coronavirus twice and nearly nine million people with more than two doses, requires all international travelers to be vaccinated. vaccination or provide proof of exemption from medical immunization to enter the Country.

As of midday on Sunday, the country’s latest daily reports showed 43 coronavirus-related deaths: 28 in the state of New South Wales, 9 in Queensland and 6 in Victoria.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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