Australia has done a great job keeping Covid-19 out. When there’s been an outbreak – for instance the one last summer that started after a guard slept with a woman coming home to the country who had the virus, and then brought it out into the community – they’ve stamped it out quickly.
This has come at a cost: Australians cannot leave the country. For much of the last year many haven’t even been able to travel domestically across state lines.
And though the country has managed the virus well, it’s flubbed its vaccine rollout. They expect to make vaccination progress late in 2021 but may not re-open their borders at all until late in 2022, according to their Minister of Finance.
Australians hoping international travel will return to normal next year have been dealt a blow, as the Federal Government warns borders are unlikely to reopen until the end of 2022 at least.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said despite the rollout of the vaccine, global outbreaks and new mutant strains, such as those in India, left the world facing as much uncertainty as ever.
He said this meant Australia’s international borders – which have largely locked Australians in since March 2020 – would likely remain shut well into next year.
The nation’s Prime Minister, though, is “pushing for a plan to allow vaccinated Australians to travel overseas and avoid mandatory quarantine on their return.” He “urgently asked medical experts to determine how it could be done.” And they’re working towards allowing travel between Australia and Singapore.
I’ve been unable to visit my family in Australia, and I have two new members of the family I’ve been unable to meet. In my family there’s a new grandmother who hasn’t been able to see her daughter in over a year or meet her granddaughter.
A cousin considered using Australia’s travel bubble with New Zealand to fly onward and meet up with his wife’s mother, so they could be reunited, even knowing it would mean state quarantine on return. However the Australian government has threatened to prosecute citizens who try this.
Australia won the first round of the pandemic, but appears to be losing overall.