Oh My: Australia’s Wild Plan To Lift Travel Restrictions

Oh My: Australia’s Wild Plan To Lift Travel Restrictions

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Australia has today revealed its roadmap for lifting travel restrictions. While many countries are starting to open up to international travel, Australia is instead adding even more travel restrictions. If my read on the situation is right, I’m thinking I might be able to travel Down Under again by 2030… maybe!

Australia’s plan to transition COVID-19 response, open borders

Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has outlined a national plan to transition Australia’s coronavirus response. Australia took some of the strictest travel measures during the pandemic, essentially closing borders to foreigners, and only allowing Australians to return home with a costly 14-day quarantine in a facility.

The country has now revealed a four-phase plan to transition from the current situation, all the way to a return to a new normal. Unfortunately we’re talking years, not months. Let’s look at each of these phases as it impacts travel.

Phase #1: Reduce inbound travelers

Australia is currently in its first phase of this plan, intended to suppress the virus to reduce community transition. It’s expected that this phase will remain in place at least for the remainder of the year.

Not only is Australia keeping its current travel restrictions in place, but it’s actually tightening them further. Australia will reduce commercial inbound passenger arrivals to all major airports by around 50%, from around 6,000 people per week to around 3,000 people per week.

This is intended to “reduce the pressure on quarantine facilities, due to the increased risks of the Delta strain of the virus.” I’m not sure I totally follow this logic? The country has a 14-day quarantine for all inbound travelers, so what exactly is the added strain from the Delta variant? Is the logic just that fewer people arriving means fewer potential people with the Delta variant, or…?

On top of that, we could see Australia trial the concept of a home quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers. Rather than having to quarantine in a facility for 14 days, fully vaccinated travelers would “just” have to quarantine at home for seven days. This is expected to be launched in Adelaide in the coming months, though only time will tell how that goes.

Australia is lowering the cap on inbound arrivals with phase one

Phase #2: Home quarantine for vaccinated travelers

In phase two (coming in 2022 at the earliest), Australia plans to restore inbound passenger caps to previous levels, for unvaccinated Australians returning home.

On top of that, Australia may increase the caps for vaccinated travelers returning home. This assumes that the country implements a widespread home quarantine option for Australians, which remains a big “if.” And again, even in this phase, only Australian residents and select other travelers would be allowed to enter Australia.

Home quarantine will be possible for some with phase two

Phase #3: No quarantine for vaccinated travelers

In phase three (timing TBD), caps would be abolished on vaccinated Australians returning home, and restrictions would also be lifted on outbound international travel for Australians.

At this point we could also see more travel bubbles launched with other low-risk countries, like Singapore.

Hotel quarantine will be eliminated with phase three

Phase #4: Visitors would be allowed again

Last is phase four, which I imagine is years away. If it’s going to take at least the rest of the year to get through phase one, it seems like it could be a while.

With phase four, Australia would once again allow foreign visitors. Vaccinated visitors would be allowed without quarantine, with no caps on how many visitors there could be. On top of that, there could be uncapped arrivals of non-vaccinated travelers, subject to testing both before travel and upon arrival.

Only expect to be able to visit Australia with phase four

My take on Australia’s strategy

In my opinion Australia’s strategy is kind of bananas. I respected the Australian government’s approach at the beginning of the pandemic, as healthcare capacity was being ramped up and vaccines were being developed.

However, personally I believe that once all people at serious risk have access to an effective vaccine, and when the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed, life should mostly return to normal.

I think it’s interesting to contrast Australia’s strategy to Singapore’s strategy. Up until now, both countries have had similar strategies, greatly curbing the spread of coronavirus, and putting border restrictions in place.

Now as Singapore approaches having two-thirds of its population vaccinated, the country is planning for a return to normal. As it’s explained, with a majority of the population vaccinated, the country plans to live with coronavirus the same way that it lives with the flu.

Perhaps more than anything else this gets at the failure of Australia’s government to secure vaccines. One would think that would be damning for the current administration, yet at the same time the current measures seem to be popular among residents.

When talking about this stuff, I think it’s also important to address the human element of this. Lifting border restrictions isn’t just about having the ability to go somewhere as a tourist, it’s about so much more. There are people with family and close friends across the globe — kids are growing up, seniors are getting older, long distance relationships are being put to the test, and so much more. And in many cases the economic impact has been terrible as well — just looked at all the furloughed people in the Australian aviation industry.

Singapore is taking a different approach than Australia going forward

Bottom line

Australia has detailed a roadmap for a return to normal, including lifting travel restrictions. On the plus side, at least there’s a roadmap. However, unfortunately it’s going to leave a lot of people disappointed.

Australia is significantly cutting back the number of Australians who can travel home for the remainder of the year. The next phase will see vaccinated Australians possibly being allowed to consistently quarantine at home, and eventually (at an undetermined point in the future), visitors will be allowed again.

What do you make of Australia’s roadmap to resuming travel? And anyone want to guess when phase four will happen?

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  1. Jack Guest

    It is astonishing that Australians with a reputation for independence and toughness put up with this idiocy. A country whose army was so feared in to world wars are like sheep. Americans at least in the red states would revolt

  2. Ju12 New Member

    The SHUTDOWN of international travel from Australia for those among the population here who broaden their horizons has been absolute ABUSE. It's like an abused child being told they could not do certain normal things growing up, like getting a part-time job or pursuing a talent as the parents are protecting them, when in fact the parents were limiting the child and in the long-run destroying the child's future.
    Unfortunately, the idiots in this...

    The SHUTDOWN of international travel from Australia for those among the population here who broaden their horizons has been absolute ABUSE. It's like an abused child being told they could not do certain normal things growing up, like getting a part-time job or pursuing a talent as the parents are protecting them, when in fact the parents were limiting the child and in the long-run destroying the child's future.
    Unfortunately, the idiots in this country who don't follow ALL the Covid rules - masks, social distancing, staying home when sick, etc, etc are the ones who have caused people to die of Covid and the Delta strain or survive it. They are killers, in a nutshell.
    There are TOO MANY TOXIC people in Australia for cultured Australians to handle, and so we must free ourselves from this with travel and hopefully work overseas. Australia has limited itself for years. Don't believe their slogans - it's all a lie.
    Prime minister Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton when he was the Home Affairs minister have allowed many more celebrities than has been publicly claimed, including Australian celebrities, in and out of this country willy nilly throughout the past year and a half. They have also allowed Americans and Canadians into Australia who are NOT celebrities. Exemptions are very specific and some of these people do not have legitimate work here.
    Escaping to the countryside for some of the past year was great sometimes but it's a much of a muchness. I thank God for the animals, wildlife and nature in this country. They are peace. The contrast is startling. I am staying with relatives in a bushland suburb of Sydney, where I grew up, and it is shocking the realization that people bother to move to these nature suburbs yet cause havoc for we peaceful people. The contrast between nature and people is astonishing. This is a country of abusers. It never ceases.
    Now, we Sydneysiders can't leave Sydney at all currently. It was the same for a while last year until June 1. While I was in the countryside, I understand too, there were several lockdowns happening within the state of NSW and other states, particularly Queensland to the north.
    I WISH I WERE ONE OF MY WILDBIRDS. Most of them do not travel far from this area, but I can only capture some percentage of their bird world not all.
    If we could all have wings.
    Even if we had not planned to travel the past year and a half overseas, for example, but say, later this year, it is the realization our human right to do so has been stripped from us.
    Politicians and their celebrity pals travel, though, along with their hangers on.
    By the way, I'm an actress, but not a high profile in the media magazine story one.

  3. OhHai Gold

    I'd be interested to find out where Australia went wrong compared to the other developed countries that adopted similar "AstraZeneca first" vaccine strategies, namely the EU and Canada. All had rocky starts with the vaccine rollout due to supply shortages and the blood clotting scare, but Europe's vaccination program generally seems to be moving at a steady pace despite similar reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccine and a focus on negotiating the lowest price that initially...

    I'd be interested to find out where Australia went wrong compared to the other developed countries that adopted similar "AstraZeneca first" vaccine strategies, namely the EU and Canada. All had rocky starts with the vaccine rollout due to supply shortages and the blood clotting scare, but Europe's vaccination program generally seems to be moving at a steady pace despite similar reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccine and a focus on negotiating the lowest price that initially left them at a lower priority than overseas buyers willing to pay more, like the UK and even the US.

    Japan is the other major outlier in the developed world but its "unique" bureaucratic culture and suspicion toward vaccines among the general public meant that vaccination was always going to be an uphill battle there.

    Though I suppose the Russians and Chinese would be happy to sell Australia some doses! /s

    1. Mh Gold

      Canada signed with 7 supplies, Australia just 3. Also our priority supplier was AZ, whereas Canada went with Moderna and Pfizer. So this explains the difference in Canada and Australia.
      Similarly with Europe, Pfizer is their primary local supplier there so again they get priority. The EU even put a law in that prevented Pfizer from exporting while EU countries wanted it. So in a way we were just unlucky with which were successful...

      Canada signed with 7 supplies, Australia just 3. Also our priority supplier was AZ, whereas Canada went with Moderna and Pfizer. So this explains the difference in Canada and Australia.
      Similarly with Europe, Pfizer is their primary local supplier there so again they get priority. The EU even put a law in that prevented Pfizer from exporting while EU countries wanted it. So in a way we were just unlucky with which were successful and unsuccessful. If say AZ was fine but Pfizer was not successful, the story would be completely different around the world.

  4. Mark in Sydney Guest

    As an Australian I’m appalled at how poorly our country is run. From the outside it may look like a well oiled machine but believe me it’s not. It’s arrogant ignorant island fortress mentality has caused far more mental health issues, collapse of business confidence and strain on all sectors of the economy than covid itself. Ben’s analysis is spot on. It is about controlling an ignorant population by insidious and dangerous politicians and bureaucrats...

    As an Australian I’m appalled at how poorly our country is run. From the outside it may look like a well oiled machine but believe me it’s not. It’s arrogant ignorant island fortress mentality has caused far more mental health issues, collapse of business confidence and strain on all sectors of the economy than covid itself. Ben’s analysis is spot on. It is about controlling an ignorant population by insidious and dangerous politicians and bureaucrats - this is the legacy Britain left Australia.

    1. Ju12 New Member

      I agree, Mark. I'm also wondering if there isn't something else behind this international travel restriction. Too many people who live in Australia (I'm also in Sydney) are problematic. I lived overseas for a couple of decades and they are a complete hideous fool of themselves. Maybe it's a way of controlling them leaving the country - nothing would surprise me with this rotten Canberra and NSW govt. I'm often on the receiving end of...

      I agree, Mark. I'm also wondering if there isn't something else behind this international travel restriction. Too many people who live in Australia (I'm also in Sydney) are problematic. I lived overseas for a couple of decades and they are a complete hideous fool of themselves. Maybe it's a way of controlling them leaving the country - nothing would surprise me with this rotten Canberra and NSW govt. I'm often on the receiving end of abuse of some type here and if one complains and stands up for one's rights, the abusers make it worse for the victim. And the SYSTEM are full of abusers. It's a CORRUPT place.
      Sometimes I feel like the world is ending during Covid.

  5. brianna hoffner Gold

    Thank you for mentioning that this isn't about tourism. My partner and I have been forcibly separated by this border closure and we've made attempt after attempt (with the help of an immigration lawyer) to get an exception to allow me in to see him. All of them are rejected.

    I'm in several immigration forums on Facebook and every single day a newbie Aussie joins who's totally in favor of keeping the borders closed...

    Thank you for mentioning that this isn't about tourism. My partner and I have been forcibly separated by this border closure and we've made attempt after attempt (with the help of an immigration lawyer) to get an exception to allow me in to see him. All of them are rejected.

    I'm in several immigration forums on Facebook and every single day a newbie Aussie joins who's totally in favor of keeping the borders closed and they post something like this:

    "hoy! so excited to be having a baby next month! now i've heard there's a form i need to fill out so my mum can come to Australia from [Canada/US/UK] to help with the baby. Didn't really read any of the posts in the group, but could someone let me know what i need to do?" And then you watch her realize that, in fact, her mum isn't considered 'immediate family' and has ZERO chance of getting in, and that her pregnancy has zero chance of getting her out of Australia as well. Funny how that whole "no travel until 2024" thing seemed "safe and prudent" until she realized it applied to her too.

    And every one of them goes thru the same stages of grief right in front of the whole group...
    "no, sorry, you being vaccinated doesn't count for jack squat to the ABF"
    "no, depression isn't considered grounds for a compassionate exemption"
    "no, sorry, the fact that your mum isn't coming in from India doesn't matter"
    "no, you can't get a dodgy doctors note. if you can make up a medical reason your mum needs to come (e.g., she has a the only compatible kidney on earth and you need one NOW), the ABF will call the danged hospital and insist on talking to the doctor before you get permission"
    "But this means my mum won't see the baby until she's like 3 years old!!"

    Yes, this is why people are upset about the policy. Sadly, like you, few people care until it directly affects them. Guess that level of selfishness isn't limited to Americans.

    There's a sane way to compassionately and safely hold a hard border stance but ScoMo's government has done nothing to make that happen. Despite the hotel quarantine program being 16 months old (and continuing indefinitely into the future), people are STILL housed in rooms that have co-mingled HVAC. There's talk of one purpose-built quarantine facility in Victoria, but that's still just on the drawing board. The current lockdown (and the inevitable ones that will follow every 3-6 weeks) is going to be a test of the nation's commitment to this course of action.

  6. Dean Beals Guest

    Here's the problem. Only 7% vaccinated. They relied mostly on the AZ vaccine and then told folks over 60 not to use b/c of side effects. Then they backtracked and said it was Ok to use if monitored. Folks are scared and not getting vaccinated. New Pfizer vaccines are not coming until fall 2021

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/ng-interactive/2021/jul/02/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-australia-vaccination-rate-progress-how-many-people-vaccinated-percent-tracker-by-state-victoria-vic-nsw-queensland-qld-daily-live-data-stats-updates-total-number-world-ranking-distribution-schedule-tracking-chart-percentage-new-cases-today

    Here's the problem. Only 7% vaccinated. They relied mostly on the AZ vaccine and then told folks over 60 not to use b/c of side effects. Then they backtracked and said it was Ok to use if monitored. Folks are scared and not getting vaccinated. New Pfizer vaccines are not coming until fall 2021

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/ng-interactive/2021/jul/02/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-australia-vaccination-rate-progress-how-many-people-vaccinated-percent-tracker-by-state-victoria-vic-nsw-queensland-qld-daily-live-data-stats-updates-total-number-world-ranking-distribution-schedule-tracking-chart-percentage-new-cases-today

  7. DJ Guest

    Australia could kick a space program into high gear and colonize the moon, probably safer than allowing something as deadly as travel. Places like Australia, SE Asia, Hawaii, Canada which have made travel near impossible for foreigners will suffer dearly in the decade to come. I won't go, not worth my time and effort when lovely places like Mexico have welcomed the world with open arms. You reap what you sow.

    1. OhHai Gold

      Yeah, Hawaii has made it so difficult to visit that the hotels are packed to the brim, the beaches are crowded, the rental cars are completely sold out, and there are lines out the door for restaurants.

      Given the total cost of a Hawaii vacation even in pre-COVID times, is running down to the local CVS for a COVID test and then filling out a 5-minute web form really that difficult?

  8. Grant M Guest

    The reason for cutting volume of in-bound people is because Delta is infecting people in hotel quarantine as well as, once out, being a whole lot easy to transfer from infected folks to the general public. We've had cases where people got infected as they opened the door of their room to get their food (or put the tray in the corridor) and airborne Delta came wafting in. Hotels aren't designed with positive/negative pressure rooms...

    The reason for cutting volume of in-bound people is because Delta is infecting people in hotel quarantine as well as, once out, being a whole lot easy to transfer from infected folks to the general public. We've had cases where people got infected as they opened the door of their room to get their food (or put the tray in the corridor) and airborne Delta came wafting in. Hotels aren't designed with positive/negative pressure rooms so Delta's airborne qualities are causing havoc down here.
    That said, our government have (to be blunt) screwed up big time with our vaccine roll out. As noted, they bet the farm on AstraZenica and also a home-grown one from University of Queensland while negotiating with Pfizer at a reduced rate. The AZ has clotting issues (not a major problem if COVID is ripping through your country, not so good if infections are <1,000 per week) and the UQ vaccine triggered false indications of AIDS infection so it got cancelled last year. Thus, we have AZ for 60+ and not enough Pfizer to supply the rest. Oooops :(
    So yeah, it's going to be a few years before we see "normal" international travel :(

  9. wayne house Guest

    The Australian government does not want to open its borders
    It all about trapping Australians to spend here .
    Peoples lives are being destroyed this disgusting woke government .

  10. philelltt Gold

    Some questions Ben. What's your plans for One Mile at Time? Is your plan to repeatedly ridicule Australia and Canada?

    What direction are you planning to take this website?

    You used to treasure it. It is no longer respectful. It no longer values different life choices and celebrates the world we live in .

    Now you are treating it like as if .......

    How do you think your website story and opinions...

    Some questions Ben. What's your plans for One Mile at Time? Is your plan to repeatedly ridicule Australia and Canada?

    What direction are you planning to take this website?

    You used to treasure it. It is no longer respectful. It no longer values different life choices and celebrates the world we live in .

    Now you are treating it like as if .......

    How do you think your website story and opinions choices fit with this special weekend in USA of Independence Day? Do you think you portray what your country brought you up to show?

    1. Florian Guest

      Yeah, let's celebrate life choices, like those in North Korea maybe!

  11. Peter Guest

    Unfortunately there is a significant percentage of the population of this country who would like to pull up the draw bridge and close the borders in ordinary times! Offshore detention without trial? Very popular with the electorate.

    In a world with a pandemic this percentage is joined with another significant percentage who have been made fearful, deliberately or other wise of this virus. Keeping the borders shut as a result is a politically popular move.

    ...

    Unfortunately there is a significant percentage of the population of this country who would like to pull up the draw bridge and close the borders in ordinary times! Offshore detention without trial? Very popular with the electorate.

    In a world with a pandemic this percentage is joined with another significant percentage who have been made fearful, deliberately or other wise of this virus. Keeping the borders shut as a result is a politically popular move.

    Unfortunately my fellow Australians are scared, not of the effects of the virus, but of the mere fact of the virus itself. We are currently cowering in fear And under various lockdowns as a result of several hundred cases of the Delta strain. However we have zero fatalities and zero people in hospital with said strain!

    My parents are in their late seventies, not only do I not know how many times I will ever see them again - I don’t know if I will ever see them again. They meanwhile are happily getting on with their lives in the UK with zero fear and the future to look forward to.

  12. Big V Guest

    Banana's you say? That's why over 500K have died in the USA and only 910 in OZ. In WA we love Mark McGowan's tough approach to keeping us safe. We have a great lifestyle that is basically free of community transmission and are more than happy with our Government's approach to this COVID nightmare. Scott Morrison is a legend.

    1. Mh Gold

      He said bananas now, not bananas a year ago.

      He's right. Enjoy your lockdowns, disruptions and limitations on travel.

  13. Katie Askegaard Guest

    As an American currently living in Australia, the continued closed boarders are very challenging to navigate. Not only is it keeping families apart (myself included), but it is taking a massive toll on travel and tourism. Based on evidence from other countries, vaccines are the answer. If Australia can get it's vaccine rollout together, perhaps (and hopefully!) this projection will change.

  14. Alan Gold

    One has to remember that unlike most of the Western world, the most vulnerable have not died in Australia from covid. Even currently in the UK, a number of people are dying from covid, even though they have been fully vaccinated. In fact, the percentage is higher among those vaccinated than those unvaccinated as a percentage of cases. Thus any opening up could have a significant impact on the most vulnerable, rather they have been...

    One has to remember that unlike most of the Western world, the most vulnerable have not died in Australia from covid. Even currently in the UK, a number of people are dying from covid, even though they have been fully vaccinated. In fact, the percentage is higher among those vaccinated than those unvaccinated as a percentage of cases. Thus any opening up could have a significant impact on the most vulnerable, rather they have been vaccinated or not. How many politicians are willing to take that risk?

  15. glenn t Guest

    As an Australian in Australia, allow me to to give my opinion on the latest announcement from the locally dubbed Minister for Announcements, the vastly incompetent Prime Minister Morrison.
    It has gone down like a lead balloon here, and smacks of policy on the run.
    Timing is dependent on local vaccination levels reaching around 80% of those eligible for a shot. Current vaccinated is less than 10% of that level. So a long...

    As an Australian in Australia, allow me to to give my opinion on the latest announcement from the locally dubbed Minister for Announcements, the vastly incompetent Prime Minister Morrison.
    It has gone down like a lead balloon here, and smacks of policy on the run.
    Timing is dependent on local vaccination levels reaching around 80% of those eligible for a shot. Current vaccinated is less than 10% of that level. So a long way to go.
    Compounding the disaster is an actual lack of vaccines. The government 'ordered' (as they put it) over a year ago 3 vaccine candidates undergoing trials, with none anywhere near being approved for emergency use.
    One was by the Queensland University, which did nor succeed. The second was AstraZeneca, which was imported from Britain until ramping up local production. It has proven to be inadequate (but better than nothing) and is going to be phased out in or around October.
    That leaves the third one, Pfizer. Desired and preferred by all, supply has been restricted as not enough was ordered (despite what the PM claims). We are now at the end of the worldwide queue for delivery, according to the equally dim Minister for Health just yesterday.
    The Government made a few blind choices over a year ago then sat on their hands and sleepwalked through the evolution of the candidate vaccines and failed to fine-tune their purchases. Incompetence of the highest order!
    Business and the travel industry especially, will start to scream loudly soon, and being major cheerleaders and supporters of this right-wing government, will bring pressure to bear on the idiotic half-baked 'roadmap' . Standby for amendments, reversals and walkbacks aplenty as the rage builds.

  16. Luis Guest

    Wow so many aussies with Stockholm syndrome. Scary.

  17. Hugh Jorgan Guest

    As an Australian living in Australia I can advise this country is a basket case. We have gone from a federation of states to a tribal, dysfunctional country with leadership that makes D. Trump look like a Rhodes Scholar.
    God help us if ever we were faced with a real catastrophe.

  18. Andrew Turner Guest

    All of Australia’s COVID cases in the community are originating out of the hotel
    quarantine program, so whilst the current regulations might seem onerous and over the top for someone on the other side of the world, for the most part here they are accepted as being necessary. Our Vaccine rollout has also been much slower than most developed countries with only around 5% of the population fully vaccinated compared with around 50% in...

    All of Australia’s COVID cases in the community are originating out of the hotel
    quarantine program, so whilst the current regulations might seem onerous and over the top for someone on the other side of the world, for the most part here they are accepted as being necessary. Our Vaccine rollout has also been much slower than most developed countries with only around 5% of the population fully vaccinated compared with around 50% in the US and 60% in the UK so whilst it appears that Australia is being overly cautious on a roadmap out, you need to look at all the facts in context to make an educated summary of the situation.

  19. Neil Guest

    The vax rollout in Oz has been poorly handled by our Oz Dear Leader who has been hiding under the doona for too long. There is no plan. It’s all “slowly, slowly”.

  20. YULtide Gold

    @Ben

    "Australia is currently in its first phase of this plan, intended to suppress the virus to reduce community transition."

    I think you mean "transmission".

  21. Jan Guest

    Free Australia!

    https://twitter.com/latenightbobbyd/status/1411085255772082177?s=21

  22. Jan Guest

    I don't think this plan will work. The moment they see a covid or two in the streets, entire cities will lock down for a week+ and then they go back to phase zero or whatever the f. And I thought these guys were tough living next to kangaroos, crocodiles and giant spiders, lol!

  23. Gilded Jail Prisoner 435765 Guest

    Aussie living in Melbourne. My view is that while this was acceptable 12 months ago, it shows the utter incompetence of our federal and state leaders, with the possible exception of NSW. To date there has been no plan (even the framework that’s been now issued is a relief!), and an appalling lack of emphasis on vaccination. The Prime Minister even said “vaccination is not a race”. Vaccination messages change weekly. There are no federal...

    Aussie living in Melbourne. My view is that while this was acceptable 12 months ago, it shows the utter incompetence of our federal and state leaders, with the possible exception of NSW. To date there has been no plan (even the framework that’s been now issued is a relief!), and an appalling lack of emphasis on vaccination. The Prime Minister even said “vaccination is not a race”. Vaccination messages change weekly. There are no federal standards for contract tracing or quarantine or even around vaccination. There is a shocking and utter lack of leadership and they have devalued Australian citizenship by not allowing their citizens to return home. This is a war and we’ve left people on the battlefield.

    If you want to enforce quarantine, build purpose built facilities outside urban areas, and use a carrot and stick approach to vaccination to speed their acceptance. Bring Aussies home first and then open up.

  24. DC not in DC Guest

    Australia is returning to its roots, as a penal colony.

    This also fits well with the White Australia policy.

    Intelligent Singapore, happily, recognizes that Covid with be with us always, like Dengue, H3N2 and other flu strains. Life will go on, just not in Rooland.

  25. VK Guest

    I am an Australian living in Sydney. Ben you will be surprised to learn that the majority of the Australian population support both the State & Federal Governments in their handling of the Covid19 situation. If you look around the globe you will find that Covid has taken its heavy toll whereas Australia has been spared due to the Government’s forward thinking. Yes we all want to go overseas to meet friends & relatives &...

    I am an Australian living in Sydney. Ben you will be surprised to learn that the majority of the Australian population support both the State & Federal Governments in their handling of the Covid19 situation. If you look around the globe you will find that Covid has taken its heavy toll whereas Australia has been spared due to the Government’s forward thinking. Yes we all want to go overseas to meet friends & relatives & to go on holidays but not until it is safe to do so.

  26. philelltt Gold

    Ben, In the USA, you are planning Independence Day celebrations. It might be best to enjoy the achievements of your country and take a spell from rubishing other countries.
    Here's what New York Times has to say...

    For the Fourth of July, President Biden has invited 1,000 military personnel and essential workers to a party on the South Lawn of the White House to celebrate “independence from the virus.”

    NYT reports that some...

    Ben, In the USA, you are planning Independence Day celebrations. It might be best to enjoy the achievements of your country and take a spell from rubishing other countries.
    Here's what New York Times has to say...

    For the Fourth of July, President Biden has invited 1,000 military personnel and essential workers to a party on the South Lawn of the White House to celebrate “independence from the virus.”

    NYT reports that some experts fear that such celebrations send the wrong message “when wide swaths of the population remain vulnerable and true independence from the worst public health crisis in a century may be a long way off.”

    It would be surprising if people really believed that the USA has achieved "Independence from the virus" but it explains some of the far fetched comments in your article.

    1. Florian Guest

      "when wide swaths of the population remain vulnerable"

      Like those who willingly choose not to get their jabs? B/c nobody (well, almost nobody) is too stupid to walk into a pharmacy and roll up their sleeve. Their choice. Time to move on.

  27. Matt Guest

    Australia hasn't seen days with thousands of cases, bodys in makeshift morgues, hospitals overrun, the chance of running out of oxygen. Almost watching from the sidelines has probably scared Australians more than if any of these things happened. If COVID had been left to let use like most other western nations, I'm sure it would be a completely different mindset.

    The vaccine rollout has been an unmitigated screw up so far - and if...

    Australia hasn't seen days with thousands of cases, bodys in makeshift morgues, hospitals overrun, the chance of running out of oxygen. Almost watching from the sidelines has probably scared Australians more than if any of these things happened. If COVID had been left to let use like most other western nations, I'm sure it would be a completely different mindset.

    The vaccine rollout has been an unmitigated screw up so far - and if I hear our smug Prime Minister talk about how Australians need to go out and get vaccinated without providing those vaccines to the states to administer I may loose my mind.

  28. TravelRudy Guest

    I’m an Australian living in Australia. Family in UK & USA. I’ve missed weddings, funerals, births of children. I’ve watched many friends be stuck here as their parent dies overseas… Then within our country, parents separated from their own newborn child!
    Unlike other Australians on these comments advocating for these ongoing restrictions, I am absolutely opposed to the lack of humanity shown by our government.

    In what world does a pandemic with such...

    I’m an Australian living in Australia. Family in UK & USA. I’ve missed weddings, funerals, births of children. I’ve watched many friends be stuck here as their parent dies overseas… Then within our country, parents separated from their own newborn child!
    Unlike other Australians on these comments advocating for these ongoing restrictions, I am absolutely opposed to the lack of humanity shown by our government.

    In what world does a pandemic with such a LOW mortality rate make the above scenarios appropriate, humane, just???

    The vaccine rollout here has been a shambles. The control of our government over it’s citizens lives is overreach. The shuttering of our borders has gone on for too long. And the flight caps have made it near impossible for people that are “allowed” to come and go, actually come and go.

    Both Federal and State governments on both sides have stuffed this up. And now their responses are far more political than they are scientific, appropriate, or humane.

    Set us free!!

  29. Philip Elliott Guest

    There are a number of issues. Ben suggests Singapore has a different policy but has announced no timeline. Both policies are just talk.
    Yesterday's decision to cut numbers into Australia was led by the Premiers of each of the Labor states. You can politicise that if it pleases you, but it is what it is. .

    This lower number is linked to a vaccination threshold. We know from USA getting over half the...

    There are a number of issues. Ben suggests Singapore has a different policy but has announced no timeline. Both policies are just talk.
    Yesterday's decision to cut numbers into Australia was led by the Premiers of each of the Labor states. You can politicise that if it pleases you, but it is what it is. .

    This lower number is linked to a vaccination threshold. We know from USA getting over half the population vaccinated is a hard ask, so something has to give somewhere. Official here speak of getting 60 to 80% of us fully vaccinated. One or 2 labor premiers talk of 100%. Go figure.
    Each state has done well with their electorate in keeping borders closed. Chest thumping works, both here as in USA.
    The Federal and state governments here have all borrowed money during covid. That money is going to stay in Australia come hell or high water. It isn't going to be spent by us chattering classes in other countries.

    Effectively our polling tells us, we Australians like closed borders.

    Polling in the USA suggests similar engagement with closed borders.

    I see the USA hasn't opened borders to the UK and the EU. Even the Canadian border remains stubbornly closed. Maybe the federal USA government wants you all to keep the money it borrowed in the USA too.

    1. freedom Guest

      I can say you certainly did not follow what’s going on in Singapore. Our vaccine drive will be near the end by end of August. Anyone who is interested should be fully vaccinated by then, I guess should be around 80%.

      We are currently looking to open to countries with similar vaccination rate and 2-3 cases per 100,000, which US and some European countries look promising.

    2. Florian Guest

      "Maybe the federal USA government wants you all to keep the money it borrowed in the USA too."

      Last time I checked the federal US government did not try to keep people from leaving the country. And regarding incoming travel, most Americans I have spoken to recently did not even know their borders where closed to Europeans.

  30. scottz95 Gold

    Unfortunately as an Australian living in Australia, I’m disappointed by this plan and disgusted by the Australian Government falling apart with the vaccination rollout. Reading the room with the folks I work with and engage with socially, nobody is impressed that we’ll continue to be subjected to this for multiple years to come.

    As an individual with an expat partner from the UK, I’m seeing first hand the impact it’s having on her mental...

    Unfortunately as an Australian living in Australia, I’m disappointed by this plan and disgusted by the Australian Government falling apart with the vaccination rollout. Reading the room with the folks I work with and engage with socially, nobody is impressed that we’ll continue to be subjected to this for multiple years to come.

    As an individual with an expat partner from the UK, I’m seeing first hand the impact it’s having on her mental state. Whilst she was lucky and able to see her family as the last arrivals before mandatory quarantine requirements were enforced on arriving travellers in March 2020, she’s now missed birthdays, funerals, Christmas’ and more. The toll is stacking up.

    Despit the fact we’re also both vaccinated and more than willing to home quarantine and hell, we’d take daily PCR tests too through a quarantine period, but we can’t leave (for me as an Aussie)/return easily.

    The success in the early days was a great thing but the failed vaccine rollout is hurting people living here and abroad arguably more than the pandemic itself from a mental health perspective.

  31. DCYukon Guest

    This seems to be the opposite of Singapore’s proposed approach to a shift in treating Covid19 as endemic and learning to live with it. By the time Australia gets around to looking for travel bubbles, there won’t be any left. But even Singapore’s proposal relies on vaccination, so Australia would do well to focus on buying/making/distributing as many as possible as soon as possible. As for potential rare side effects like blood clots to AZ/JNJ...

    This seems to be the opposite of Singapore’s proposed approach to a shift in treating Covid19 as endemic and learning to live with it. By the time Australia gets around to looking for travel bubbles, there won’t be any left. But even Singapore’s proposal relies on vaccination, so Australia would do well to focus on buying/making/distributing as many as possible as soon as possible. As for potential rare side effects like blood clots to AZ/JNJ vaccines, other countries’ citizens have already been the guinea pigs, but their experiences have shown doctors how to properly identify and treat those, so it’s time to stop being unnecessarily alarmist and get a move on. Or it really will be 2030 before Australia rejoins the real world and stops imprisoning it’s own citizens. The approach made sense when there were no treatments or vaccines, but now it reflects political incompetence.

  32. Randall Guest

    Our Australian government has reacted pathetically to Covid. Even now only 6% of Aussies have received both vaccinations. We all need to learn to live with Covid as unfortunately this is now just the 'new normal'. It is fine for those who never travel to say "we just need to stop international travel", but for those who us who do frequently travel internationally for leisure (it was twice a year for me) this has been...

    Our Australian government has reacted pathetically to Covid. Even now only 6% of Aussies have received both vaccinations. We all need to learn to live with Covid as unfortunately this is now just the 'new normal'. It is fine for those who never travel to say "we just need to stop international travel", but for those who us who do frequently travel internationally for leisure (it was twice a year for me) this has been an incredible impact on our mental health. What the rest of the world also doesn't see are the internal squabbling between federal and state politicians, arguing over what should be happening. Shame Morrison shame!

  33. D3kingg Guest

    Wow anyone that would even joke about a lockdown until 2030 is so out of touch with reality.

  34. Pete Guest

    This may be used as a tool to combat runway real estate prices driven by non-citizen purchases.

  35. Tony Guest

    Time for aussies to grasp the vaccination.

  36. Mike Guest

    This is complete insanity. If I were an Aussie citizen, I would be looking for a home in another country as soon as possible so that I could be free again. The fact that they're planning on quarantine for fully vaccinated people proves that they have absolutely no idea what they are doing. This is a prime example of the response to the threat being worse than the threat itself. Vaccinate the old and most...

    This is complete insanity. If I were an Aussie citizen, I would be looking for a home in another country as soon as possible so that I could be free again. The fact that they're planning on quarantine for fully vaccinated people proves that they have absolutely no idea what they are doing. This is a prime example of the response to the threat being worse than the threat itself. Vaccinate the old and most unhealthy people then open up! Everyone knows that Covid is basically a joke if you're a reasonably healthy person, They've just been sitting there for the last year and a half doing nothing! They could've had their whole country vaccinated by now. They need a new government and I feel very bad for the Aussie people.

  37. JB Guest

    On the statement about reducing arrivals to deal with the new Delta strain, I think they mean that they expect to have more people test positive, meaning they may be staying longer than 14 days in the quarantine facilities. I don't think that will be that many people, and I'm sure that's just an excuse type statement as well, but it does have some logic to it.

    My aunt and her entire family,...

    On the statement about reducing arrivals to deal with the new Delta strain, I think they mean that they expect to have more people test positive, meaning they may be staying longer than 14 days in the quarantine facilities. I don't think that will be that many people, and I'm sure that's just an excuse type statement as well, but it does have some logic to it.

    My aunt and her entire family, including my grandparents, just tested positive in Pakistan but they were all vaccinated (with the Chinese Sinopharm Vaccine), and yet, they were still able to spread it amongst themselves and everyone was symptomatic (one person brought it home from my aunt's in-laws, and it spread to her, her kids, and eventually my grandparents). Thankfully, it wasn't that severe and they were sick for only about a week each.

  38. JetSetGo New Member

    So glad I was able to visit down and under couple years ago. Wishing them nothing but the best with covid containment. Hopefully they can get Pfizer and Moderna soon so they can open up to international tourists.

  39. Sebastian Guest

    Not sure where you’re getting the idea it’ll take ‘years’ to get through the 4 stages; the only vague timeline they indicated was stage 2 by ‘early 2022’, nothing to suggest stages 3 and 4 can’t be in the immediate months afterwards.

    But good point comparing to Singapore where I also agree they have a much better COVID exit strategy and of course, been a lot better at vaccinations. Australia definitely did shoot itself in...

    Not sure where you’re getting the idea it’ll take ‘years’ to get through the 4 stages; the only vague timeline they indicated was stage 2 by ‘early 2022’, nothing to suggest stages 3 and 4 can’t be in the immediate months afterwards.

    But good point comparing to Singapore where I also agree they have a much better COVID exit strategy and of course, been a lot better at vaccinations. Australia definitely did shoot itself in the foot by putting all it’s eggs in the AZ basket on top of all the flip-flopping with medical advice related to that vaccine. But there’s early indications the rollout is speeding up already and the large Pfizer/Moderna batches start arriving in September, would think everyone would be eligible (and a good proportion taking up the vaccine) by the end of the year. I’m still very much hopeful mid-2022 we’ll have some semblance of normalcy with international travel freedoms, but yes that’s still longer than it needed to be.

  40. David S Guest

    I believe that Australia and Canada should be boycotted the same way certain countries were boycotted in the 40s . The behavior of their respective regimes borders on barbarity. Lamentably a large hateful and risk adverse portion of the populace endorses these despicable measures. I promise that I will not spend one penny in either of these two formally wonderful countries. Our grand families have experience with these types of regimes

  41. Miamiorbust Guest

    This is a pretty biased and frankly silly article from a very American understanding of the world - and America and by extensions Americans have precisely zero credibility to lecture any group on COVID. GDP growth is Australia has been respectable. Country has a functioning democracy that can self-correct if policy does not meet needs of population. No evidence of political revolt. Plenty of room to move around domestically. Hard to see the rush to...

    This is a pretty biased and frankly silly article from a very American understanding of the world - and America and by extensions Americans have precisely zero credibility to lecture any group on COVID. GDP growth is Australia has been respectable. Country has a functioning democracy that can self-correct if policy does not meet needs of population. No evidence of political revolt. Plenty of room to move around domestically. Hard to see the rush to open things up if there’s consensus on current course. Why can’t Americans just let other people be happy…without bombarding others with opinions or something far worse.

    1. World Traveller Guest

      Like most Australians you have a typical backward ignorant perspective on the World. Australia's Fascist approach would not be tolerated in any country without a Sheep-like population.

      While the rest of the World certainly appreciates less poor uneducated drunk Australians wandering around the Planet, wake up to the reality of living in prison. Since most of you are descendants of convicts, this probably is not much of an adjustment.

      Also, skip Miami.

  42. Cedric Guest

    I’m in the meetings industry and let’s just say Australia will loose out on years of business. It was fine when everyone was closed, but the entire planet will steam ahead while Australia is left in the dust.

    1. AussieBen Guest

      Cedric,

      It is unlikely Australia will lose out. Essential face to face meetings are still happening, with thousands having done so over the past 18 months. That’s actually upset some state leaders who are annoyed about some Australians leaving and returning while thousands of Australians are still stuck overseas. A delegation is even going to Tokyo to shore up Brisbane’s bid for the 2032 games.

      Minor meetings can easily be done over video anyway....

      Cedric,

      It is unlikely Australia will lose out. Essential face to face meetings are still happening, with thousands having done so over the past 18 months. That’s actually upset some state leaders who are annoyed about some Australians leaving and returning while thousands of Australians are still stuck overseas. A delegation is even going to Tokyo to shore up Brisbane’s bid for the 2032 games.

      Minor meetings can easily be done over video anyway. Airlines will need to adjust accordingly since the lucrative frequent business flyer won’t be as lucrative in years to come.

    2. Leigh Guest

      AussieBen,

      You don’t get it. The person making the post was referring to the MICE industry. You know nothing about the segment, but guaranteed that Australia has lost it for years to come...it was already a hard pitch for several reasons, and now untenable.

    3. AussieBen Guest

      Leigh,

      Thanks for clarifying. Australia won’t have any issue getting conferences, exhibitions, etc. in the future. Incentives work wonders.

      It would be interesting to know what large scale conferences and exhibitions you feel Australia currently has that we will lose out on.

    4. Hutch Guest

      Australia currently has the same unemployment rate (lower than the US), than immediately prior to the Covid outbreak... Some sectors have been smashed, others have grown, the economy restructures. When things change in the future, there will be other market adjustments.

  43. jcil Guest

    It is not worth risking the life of a single Aussie (or Kiwi, for that matter) to the virus. Therefore, Australia will be closed to all foreign travel until such time as the number of active cases anywhere in the world is ZERO. They just can't take the risk. Aussie lives are in fact so important, that Australian citizens can't be allowed to leave the country either. This ban on travel, however, is just for...

    It is not worth risking the life of a single Aussie (or Kiwi, for that matter) to the virus. Therefore, Australia will be closed to all foreign travel until such time as the number of active cases anywhere in the world is ZERO. They just can't take the risk. Aussie lives are in fact so important, that Australian citizens can't be allowed to leave the country either. This ban on travel, however, is just for the commoners. Governmental officials and their families are free to travel the world on their most important work, and if you are a big enough VIP, like an athlete as suggested above, or a Hollywood type, exceptions will be made for you. This is all for the protection of Australian people--now just shut up and obey.

    1. speedbird Guest

      Enjoy being a second North Korea then! Because the day the number of cases is zero will never come

  44. Luke Guest

    Crazy but somehow I still think phase#4 listed should come by end of 2022 at latest provided they get their act together with vaccines. Really crazy if even then these restrictions remain.

  45. Reid Guest

    Now just need to convince the anti-vaxers keeping us from progressing to normal to get protected already. surely this pandemic would have been over if we had observed global lockdown for a month in early 2020.

  46. Anon Guest

    Australia definitely has a pretty strong xenophobic streak. (If you thought how the Trump administration treated asylum seekers was bad, Australia takes it to another level, operating off-shore prisons for asylum seekers with appalling conditions.)

    It's no great surprise then that the Australian government is responding to a foreign threat in such a heavy-handed manner, far beyond what other similar nations are doing.

    1. Hutch Guest

      "...far beyond what other similar nations are doing"

      There basically isn't similar nations to compare us to though. Geography and market size dictates that.

  47. John Guest

    It was only because half the country has been in lockdown the past week that the Prime Minister was put under pressure to provide a plan, if you can even call it a plan since there are no targets, criteria and timelines on how to get to each phase.

  48. 2paxfly Guest

    Hi Ben, while our government has completely stuffed up the whole vaccine roll-out, the reduction in arrivals does make sense in the short term.

    All outbreaks of COVID in Australia in the last 12 months have been linked to hotel quarantine. Air flows in hotel rooms are not well designed in the face of an airborne pandemic. There is a whole debate about the need to build separate purpose designed quarantine facilities, but lets put...

    Hi Ben, while our government has completely stuffed up the whole vaccine roll-out, the reduction in arrivals does make sense in the short term.

    All outbreaks of COVID in Australia in the last 12 months have been linked to hotel quarantine. Air flows in hotel rooms are not well designed in the face of an airborne pandemic. There is a whole debate about the need to build separate purpose designed quarantine facilities, but lets put that to one side at the moment.

    Unlike the USA, Australia currently only has 8% of the population with at least one vaccine jab. We are way behind much of the first world. However, if things go to plan to reach roughly 80% vaccination of all over 16yoa - that should take us into mid 2022 - maybe a few months later.

    Our governments have not been perfect during this pandemic, but with some few exceptions, (Victoria) we have led pretty normal lives most of the time. OK we have sacrificed international travel, but on the upside we have a total of 910 deaths during the pandemic, versus more 500,000 in the USA.

    Our government stuffed up its vaccine purchases and spread, and that means we will lose our previous advantage. But in 12 months, with some luck, compliance and good vaccine take up, we should be back across the world. The Aussie invasion is only on pause. It’s not over

    1. freedom Guest

      In SG, we have 36 death. We have more than 5 million people living on a small island with much higher population density.

      We kept the international border open with any Singaporean wanting to come back to SG can come back almost all the time.

      Seriously, there is nothing pride in AU.

    2. Chew Guest

      Australia can buy chewing gum though...

    3. Hutch Guest

      Your only point of relevance there, is the poor treatment of Australian's stuck overseas. It has been terrible.

  49. mick Guest

    Im an Aussie in the USA who is fully vaccinated. Im hoping for a home quarantine by early 2022.... But for now Im glad im in the USA with the ability to travel. I dont know if Australia really has a sensible long term plan.

    And incidentally... I think the federal govs popularity is severely waning now

  50. Florian Guest

    They could maybe add a "travel bubble" (yes, those things that burst at the slightest glimpse of reality) with Micronesia in Phase 3.5, in order to learn from it and reduce risk for their Stockholm-syndromed citizens.

  51. Hutch Guest

    Singapore approaching 67% population vaccinated, Australia currently under 7%. This is not a like for like scenario.

    There is little appetite to open borders until there is significantly higher percentage of the population vaccinated.

    1. freedom Guest

      A great leader is all it takes. We are lucky to have one in SG.

      Shame on you, Scott Morrison!

    2. Mh Gold

      ScoMo isn't a great leader, but to be fair the real anti-opening up conditions came from 3 state Premiers - primarily QLD who complained that she couldn't do her job managing arrivals as it stands.

  52. Randy Platinum

    Would seem that Australia would be able to get enough vaccine to vaccinate a large portion of its population within the next year - equalizing with the US.

  53. AlanT98 Guest

    I think the biggest problem here is that you don't realise that not every country is like USA right now, Australia won't have all their population inoculated until 2023 at the earliest. And in the meantime, more variants can come that will affect the effectiveness of the current vaccines thanks to the poor vaccine supply that most of the world is having.

    1. Hutch Guest

      That simply isn't true. There will be enough vaccinations in Australia by early 2022

  54. Ryan Guest

    Very sad to hear. Always loved visiting Australia. Just happy I've seen a pretty good chunk of it already since it may be a long while before they open again to the world. And even then it seems like xenophobia itself is the new pandemic.

    On a side note- It's July 4th weekend. Always enjoyed the thought exercise of wondering what the US (and the world) would be like if it weren't for the American...

    Very sad to hear. Always loved visiting Australia. Just happy I've seen a pretty good chunk of it already since it may be a long while before they open again to the world. And even then it seems like xenophobia itself is the new pandemic.

    On a side note- It's July 4th weekend. Always enjoyed the thought exercise of wondering what the US (and the world) would be like if it weren't for the American Revolution. At least in theory we would have been like Australia or Canada. Better healthcare, slavery would have ended much earlier. Globally maybe no WW1 or WW2. With the combined strength of a potential British Empire that included the US who would challenge it? No WW1 then maybe no Soviet Union, CCP or Nazi Germany. No WW2 then maybe no nuclear weapons. Etc, etc.

    So I always celebrated the 4th of July with a bit of a shrug. Not this year! Looking at the way personal freedom has been completely disregarded by our cousins has me very thankful. I know many will disagree and consider me selfish perhaps. But that's my truth so suck it.

    This 4th I will hug an immigrant, salute the flag & pour out a little beer from my red solo cup for all our friends overseas in lockdown and unable to exercise their right to freedom of movement.

  55. Tom Guest

    I here that only 5 percent of the population is vaccinated so maybe all will look better when they get 60 to 70 percent vaccinated.

    1. Alex Z Guest

      @AussieBen - are you a spokesman for the Australian Federal Government? You sure as hell seem like one. With all due respect I think you peddle in fear mongering. Vaccinated individuals at least when it comes to Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson pose a tiny fraction of a chance of spreading Covid even with the Delta variant. As a fully vaccinated American I do not pose a risk to a non vaccinated individuals and...

      @AussieBen - are you a spokesman for the Australian Federal Government? You sure as hell seem like one. With all due respect I think you peddle in fear mongering. Vaccinated individuals at least when it comes to Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson pose a tiny fraction of a chance of spreading Covid even with the Delta variant. As a fully vaccinated American I do not pose a risk to a non vaccinated individuals and you don't pose a risk to me. However, I am fed up with Australia and just hope you guys stay closed forever, this way I know that Australia basically no longer exists as a country in this world and we can all move on

    2. AussieBen Guest

      Alex,

      I’m not overall a huge fan of the current federal government, but the facts don’t support their condemnation on this issue. Perfect? No. But condemnable? Also no. I deal with the facts here.

      While the major vaccines, including Pfizer, do significantly reduce transmission it is still only up to 40-60%. That wide range shows that we are still early days understanding the long term consequences. Vaccination is not immunisation, which many people seem to...

      Alex,

      I’m not overall a huge fan of the current federal government, but the facts don’t support their condemnation on this issue. Perfect? No. But condemnable? Also no. I deal with the facts here.

      While the major vaccines, including Pfizer, do significantly reduce transmission it is still only up to 40-60%. That wide range shows that we are still early days understanding the long term consequences. Vaccination is not immunisation, which many people seem to forget.

      You could still easily give someone’s the virus. Another vaccinated person might only experience a bad cold or flu as a result, but an unvaccinated person could get seriously ill. We already know that long Covid is very much a reality for some who recover and we really don’t know what health complications will arise for those and other recoverers down the track.

      So Australia is safer closed until we get a vast majority vaccinated, which will be end of January. And there’s no fear mongering here at all, just dealing with the fact that there’s a lot of uncertainty about how effective the vaccines will be against mutated strains of the virus. I don’t want to see the northern hemisphere go back to the awful days of 2020 but as they move into winter again later this year it will be something Australians watch very closely.

    3. Aussie Guest

      Vaccinated people can “easily give it to others”?? What data do you have to support such an absurd statement.

      Vaccination IS immunisation. It elicits an immune response against covid 19. That doesn’t confer 100% protection but it’s pretty damn close and an immunised person is unlikely to develop a viral burden high enough to pose a substantial transmission threat.

      What other effective vaccine in the history of immunisation is associated with persistent high levels of...

      Vaccinated people can “easily give it to others”?? What data do you have to support such an absurd statement.

      Vaccination IS immunisation. It elicits an immune response against covid 19. That doesn’t confer 100% protection but it’s pretty damn close and an immunised person is unlikely to develop a viral burden high enough to pose a substantial transmission threat.

      What other effective vaccine in the history of immunisation is associated with persistent high levels of disease transmission?

      Clowns.

    4. Hutch Guest

      Why do you actually care what another country does, which has no real impact on your day to day life...
      To assist you in your decision making, it would be appreciated if you did forget about us. Move on and focus on the abundant number of domestic US issues to resolve.

  56. Matt Guest

    I wonder what this will mean for the Women's World Cup in July 2023. Australia and New Zealand are supposed to host.

    1. Dan Guest

      Assuming no major changes in the status quo, probably the same thing as for the Australian Open tennis major, which was held with a couple of weeks' delay this past February. Everyone arrives 3 weeks or so in advance on designated flights to undergo quarantine and testing. After that, they could start practicing for their first group stage game. Presumably with some kind of bubble agreement for traveling between Australia and New Zealand once the...

      Assuming no major changes in the status quo, probably the same thing as for the Australian Open tennis major, which was held with a couple of weeks' delay this past February. Everyone arrives 3 weeks or so in advance on designated flights to undergo quarantine and testing. After that, they could start practicing for their first group stage game. Presumably with some kind of bubble agreement for traveling between Australia and New Zealand once the tournament begins if/when the schedule dictates.

    2. dantheman Gold

      Yes I'm sure they will find a way for the matches to happen, I meant from the tourism standpoint. My friends and I have gone to the last two WWC and are really looking forward to going to the 2023 one too. I hope we can :-/

  57. Jumpseatflyer Guest

    This is an absolute joke and I just don't understand how anyone could accept this. It has become an almost certain fact that the novel corona virus will not go away anymore, which means we have to live with it like we live with other infectious diseases. A strategy to follow zero infections is simply impossible without living in a (dystopian) bubble. This means we have to vaccinate, test, and also accept infections. As long...

    This is an absolute joke and I just don't understand how anyone could accept this. It has become an almost certain fact that the novel corona virus will not go away anymore, which means we have to live with it like we live with other infectious diseases. A strategy to follow zero infections is simply impossible without living in a (dystopian) bubble. This means we have to vaccinate, test, and also accept infections. As long as the healthcare system is not being overwhelmed and as long as we can keep fatalities low, this is the only option. This is the price we have to pay.

    1. AussieBen Guest

      And Australia will live with it once the majority are vaccinated. Only 7% are currently fully vaccinated. If we opened up now then we would be accepting a fate similar to what Americans and Europeans endured. We aren’t prepared to see tens of thousands of deaths on our shores.

    2. Jeff Guest

      I generally agree with what you say, but my perspective is US based, so seen through a different filter. I'm a bit surprised the Australians are so accepting of the policy, but it actually sounds like the majority of citizen's approve of it. Fear can often cause irrational decisions when looked on in hindsight, we will see how long it takes, I suspect when temperatures start to rise in a couple months, pressure will increase...

      I generally agree with what you say, but my perspective is US based, so seen through a different filter. I'm a bit surprised the Australians are so accepting of the policy, but it actually sounds like the majority of citizen's approve of it. Fear can often cause irrational decisions when looked on in hindsight, we will see how long it takes, I suspect when temperatures start to rise in a couple months, pressure will increase to open up a bit more. Australia is a country I hope to visit myself, but I certainly won't be building an itinerary myself.

    3. AussieBen Guest

      Australians have watched on as some half a million Americans died from COVID and have been grateful not to have experienced a similar fate. We will open up once majority are vaccinated. But that’s some months away still.

  58. Dennis Guest

    As an Australian, I am so glad I have German citizenship and US residency to escape the madness! Seriously, this place is very much like North Korea at the moment with police arresting homeless for not wearing masks and checking licence plates to fine people who have travelled more than 5km from their home. Not to mention requiring authority to leave the country to visit loved ones. Cities locking down for a single case. Etc....

    As an Australian, I am so glad I have German citizenship and US residency to escape the madness! Seriously, this place is very much like North Korea at the moment with police arresting homeless for not wearing masks and checking licence plates to fine people who have travelled more than 5km from their home. Not to mention requiring authority to leave the country to visit loved ones. Cities locking down for a single case. Etc. And the thing is, the public seem to want it. They can't handle seeing even a single case. It's painted as a total disaster. This is why we are seeing a paranoid "plan".

  59. Bee Guest

    The reason the Delta variant is causing us to reduce passenger caps is because it is getting out of the quarantine system and into the community. Sydney is in the middle of a 2 week lockdown and 3 other capital cities have had lockdowns this week from the delta variant getting out (I’ve been caught up in one, it’s our third lockdown this year).

    Not all of these will be directly fixed by reducing...

    The reason the Delta variant is causing us to reduce passenger caps is because it is getting out of the quarantine system and into the community. Sydney is in the middle of a 2 week lockdown and 3 other capital cities have had lockdowns this week from the delta variant getting out (I’ve been caught up in one, it’s our third lockdown this year).

    Not all of these will be directly fixed by reducing passengers (Sydney’s was a driver not following guidelines with air crew), but given our zero tolerance for community transmission and very low vaccination rates, this change wasn’t surprising for me in Australia.

    The good news to some extent is that while state hotel quarantine capacity is dropping, there will be more capacity at our remote federal government facility. Hopefully that helps with getting people home.

    1. Ben Guest

      All you are saying is that the price to pay for the hysterical reaction of Australia in 2020 is to double down on hysteria and freak out every time someone just dares to think of covid. Are you guys cut off from the rest of the worlds media? You do realise that covid turned out almost everywhere to not be quite the damning it was made out to be?

      You will not get rid of...

      All you are saying is that the price to pay for the hysterical reaction of Australia in 2020 is to double down on hysteria and freak out every time someone just dares to think of covid. Are you guys cut off from the rest of the worlds media? You do realise that covid turned out almost everywhere to not be quite the damning it was made out to be?

      You will not get rid of covid, no matter how many freak lockdowns you guys do for every case. In the end careless or people with pre-existing conditions will still be at risk and you are in the same place as everyone else... just without vaccines and with years of freedom lost.

    2. Bee Guest

      I’m not saying this is the right or wrong thing, this is just the reason we have been given. I’m furious at the pace of vaccination here and that nearly 18 months after this started, my family members are still at risk of dying when in another country they would be vaccinated and less at risk.

      Again not giving an opinion on this, but this announcement yesterday actually acknowledges that our end state will...

      I’m not saying this is the right or wrong thing, this is just the reason we have been given. I’m furious at the pace of vaccination here and that nearly 18 months after this started, my family members are still at risk of dying when in another country they would be vaccinated and less at risk.

      Again not giving an opinion on this, but this announcement yesterday actually acknowledges that our end state will be managing COVID in the community similar to flu. I’m the meantime while we wait for the federal government to finally get their act together we live in the reality of lockdowns, as that is the policy that the government here has chosen. Yeah, it sucks, but I have friends here who’ve lost multiple family members to this overseas. There’s no win really

  60. BM Guest

    I am an Australian living semi-permanently in the US. The last time I saw my parents, who are in their 70s, was Christmas of 2018. Pre-pandemic I was planning to visit home in the (northern hemisphere) summer of 2020, but obviously that didn’t happen. Then Christmas 2020 didn’t happen. Then summer 2021 didn’t happen. Now, apparently, Christmas 2021 isn’t going to happen. 3+ years without seeing my parents! I’m fully vaccinated, and am willing to...

    I am an Australian living semi-permanently in the US. The last time I saw my parents, who are in their 70s, was Christmas of 2018. Pre-pandemic I was planning to visit home in the (northern hemisphere) summer of 2020, but obviously that didn’t happen. Then Christmas 2020 didn’t happen. Then summer 2021 didn’t happen. Now, apparently, Christmas 2021 isn’t going to happen. 3+ years without seeing my parents! I’m fully vaccinated, and am willing to take as many tests as the AU government wants. The risk of me entering the country is pretty much zero. But we’re still going to persist with hotel imprisonment for vaccinated citizens at least until the end of the year?

    It is not April of 2020 anymore. This is no longer a crisis situation. The risks are definable and manageable. It’s inexplicable to me that Australian governments (both federal and state) are persisting with this command-and-control strategy even when the consequences are so obvious and so damaging. I’ve always known Australia is a low-key authoritarian state, but this is beyond my worst expectations.

    1. AussieBen Guest

      BM,

      At the moment, you do pose a potential risk to Australians since vaccinated people can still get infected and pass on the virus (granted, the vaccines do reduce likelihood but we can see overseas the large numbers of vaccinated people who are virus carriers). Most Australians aren’t vaccinated (only 7% fully vaccinated at this time). There are a number of arrivals who do test negative on arrival but who later test positive. It’s simply...

      BM,

      At the moment, you do pose a potential risk to Australians since vaccinated people can still get infected and pass on the virus (granted, the vaccines do reduce likelihood but we can see overseas the large numbers of vaccinated people who are virus carriers). Most Australians aren’t vaccinated (only 7% fully vaccinated at this time). There are a number of arrivals who do test negative on arrival but who later test positive. It’s simply too risky to consider relaxing the rules for vaccinated people for now. Hang in there.

    2. ECR Gold

      There are some people who will never be content. If we're not going to allow vaccinated people in a country, than there really is never going to be any scenario where you'll support looser restrictions. At that point, why get the vaccine at all?

      If we held other aspects of life to the same standards, Speed limits for cars would be under 10km/hour. Think of all the lives you'd save, nevermind the tradeoff.

    3. AussieBen Guest

      ECR,

      Vaccinated foreigners are permitted to enter so long as they can get a flight under the cap arrangement and complete their two week hotel quarantine at their own expense.

      It does make sense to keep this in place for now as we know vaccinated people can catch COVID and spread it (albeit, less likely to be as major a spreader as an unvaccinated person). Come end of January the overwhelming majority of adults...

      ECR,

      Vaccinated foreigners are permitted to enter so long as they can get a flight under the cap arrangement and complete their two week hotel quarantine at their own expense.

      It does make sense to keep this in place for now as we know vaccinated people can catch COVID and spread it (albeit, less likely to be as major a spreader as an unvaccinated person). Come end of January the overwhelming majority of adults will be vaccinated and no doubt vaccinated foreigners will find it much easier to enter.

    4. Chris New Member

      Large number of vaccinated who are virus carrier ? seriously ?
      Here with only mRNA we don't have it sorry for you.
      We have almost no more restrictions at all.
      Maybe you talk about the crap AZ or Chinese vaccin... so be more precise.

    5. AussieBen Guest

      Chris,

      Yes, a vaccinated person might not even notice they have Covid but they can still be a carrier and pass it onto others. For unvaccinated people, that can be terrible.

      Vaccination isn’t immunisation.

    6. Janet Gold

      You are a total apologist for the Morrison government. Most of your fellow countrymen are not as forgiving of the government’s incompetence on vaccine procurement. He will lose the next election on this issue.

    7. AussieBen Guest

      Janet,

      Not an apologist at all. Just sticking to the facts.

      And the government and opposition sit around the same as they did in opinion polls over a year ago and at the last federal election. That doesn’t suggest widespread condemnation of the government or Morrison himself.

      In fact, he is the preferred prime minister compared to the opposition leader by 20 points and has a net approval rating of around 55%. That’s...

      Janet,

      Not an apologist at all. Just sticking to the facts.

      And the government and opposition sit around the same as they did in opinion polls over a year ago and at the last federal election. That doesn’t suggest widespread condemnation of the government or Morrison himself.

      In fact, he is the preferred prime minister compared to the opposition leader by 20 points and has a net approval rating of around 55%. That’s actually gone up in recents weeks.

      As I said, I deal with the facts.

    8. Kevin Guest

      The transmission rates are very low for vaccinated individuals. At the very least you should be allowing vaccinated citizens in, especially with a home quarantine if you wanted to be extra cautious AND a test even before departure.

      Australia should be able to contain any small outbreaks that occur.

      I'm not sure how true it is, but I've read some parts of Australia have access to the vaccine but their is hesitancy. We have the...

      The transmission rates are very low for vaccinated individuals. At the very least you should be allowing vaccinated citizens in, especially with a home quarantine if you wanted to be extra cautious AND a test even before departure.

      Australia should be able to contain any small outbreaks that occur.

      I'm not sure how true it is, but I've read some parts of Australia have access to the vaccine but their is hesitancy. We have the same problem in parts of the U.S that have never been hit with a widespread outbreak yet. places around New York are at 60% vaccinated and places in the south at around 33% which also makes it a political issue. Which is just nuts.

    9. Dennis Guest

      "you do pose a potential risk to Australians"... what? For trying to visit his elderly parents? Are you crazy? This type of attitude is so prevalent right now in paranoid Australia, and why the borders won't open for decades.

    10. SG Guest

      Many Australians like myself living in The UK are unable to return to Australia without the costly two week quarantine.

      Conversely, my family cannot leave Australia.

      Australia isn’t gods country anymore

      I can truly sympathise with your situation.

    11. Ralph4878 Guest

      @Bm: this is the risk you take when you decide to live outside your passport country. Your choice to live abroad is not your homeland's problem...until it is. This is why as soon as COVID started to spread like wildfire across the world, I got my a** back to the States as quickly as possible from Asia. Your situation clearly sucks, and having lost a parent this past year, I truly empathize with your wanting...

      @Bm: this is the risk you take when you decide to live outside your passport country. Your choice to live abroad is not your homeland's problem...until it is. This is why as soon as COVID started to spread like wildfire across the world, I got my a** back to the States as quickly as possible from Asia. Your situation clearly sucks, and having lost a parent this past year, I truly empathize with your wanting to be there with your family! But you have the option to return to Australia and quarantine, making absolute sure that you do not carrier the virus into the country (because, as AussieBen notes, you can still carry it despite being vaccinated). While costly, you have the option - I have several friends who have done it and they are now visiting friends and family freely in Victoria. It is absurd that folks are making false equivalences on these threads - Australia is not an authoritarian state, nor is it on the road to becoming North Korea. Instead, it's doing what governments should do: protecting citizens from an existential threat, including their own selfishness and stupidity at times. Just look at what happened here in the States - Trump did next to nothing, and now masks and vaccines are politicized, all while over 600,000 people needlessly died...

    12. freedom Guest

      Trump is incompetent and so is Scott Morrison. Hardly any country is a basket case like Australia. Even if you stayed in Asia, you could have gone back to US almost anytime you want without high cost.

    13. AussieBen Guest

      Freedom,

      Australia is a thriving democracy with near full employment and strong economic outlook. We are about to eclipse Russia as the 12th largest global economy. Australians are now considered to be the richest individuals in the world overall. We are home to 4 of the 10 most liveable cities in the world (2022 rankings). Not too bad for a country of 25 million.

      We are not without our problems, but a basket case...

      Freedom,

      Australia is a thriving democracy with near full employment and strong economic outlook. We are about to eclipse Russia as the 12th largest global economy. Australians are now considered to be the richest individuals in the world overall. We are home to 4 of the 10 most liveable cities in the world (2022 rankings). Not too bad for a country of 25 million.

      We are not without our problems, but a basket case we are not :) Very happy to be an Australian and to live in one of the greatest countries.

    14. freedom Guest

      Economy and GDP certainly cannot mask the failure of receiving Australians oversea and even today. It has been more than one year since the start of COVID-19.

      The richest individuals in the world can't build good and enough quarantine facilities to help its fellow citizens. Oh well, so much for the wealth.

    15. AussieBen Guest

      Freedom,

      Yes, it’s been more than a year. I agree that we should be able to bring home all Australians. To be fair, the government did strongly advise people to return earlier last year and some did not, getting caught out when we shut our border.

      As I said, not a perfect country nor government. But a basket case (your claim) is simply an unfounded and wildly inaccurate claim.

    16. freedom Guest

      give me examples of advanced democracies that block its citizens from coming back to or leaving ones own country in a reasonable manner.

      If you are in a league with North Korea in term of immigration strategies, a basket case is not unfounded.

    17. Hutch Guest

      The Australian Government has failed it citizens overseas. They stated last year to come home, but the policies they enacted made that near impossible for many people.

      While they have less control over vaccine supply, they had a lot more control with repatriation. It has been piss poor.

    18. Bryn Guest

      yeh... nah mate, it's a basket case. This started well for Australia, but now it's a total dog's breakfast.

    19. Kevin Guest

      and I gotta say. I never hear about riots in Australia. UK, France, Hong Kong, and the U.S. who would be a top the Fantasy League leaders in Rioting right now if that were a thing. It sounds like no one group in Australia is outwardly upset over anything.

    20. Grey New Member

      @Ralph4878
      I have to absolutely disagree with you. A government should never ban its citizens from coming home. They have plenty of hotels in the country that are not going used. If they really wanted to, they could turn more of them into quarantine facilities. Instead, they force their citizens to illegally overstay visas in other places.

    21. Ralph4878 Guest

      @Grey - there were plenty of options for Australians to return home at the start of the pandemic, on the country's dollar, and they were crystal clear when they would be changing things and requiring folks to have to pay to quarantine on their own. At some point, folks made personal choices to stay put, likely because that was what they thought was the best decision for them at the time. But we are all...

      @Grey - there were plenty of options for Australians to return home at the start of the pandemic, on the country's dollar, and they were crystal clear when they would be changing things and requiring folks to have to pay to quarantine on their own. At some point, folks made personal choices to stay put, likely because that was what they thought was the best decision for them at the time. But we are all dealing with an unprecedented pandemic - no one government has dealt with it perfectly, and I certainly think Australia should have done more to get its residents home. Yet, to complain NOW, 14-16 months into things when there are options to get home, safely quarantine and protect others, ane be where one wants to be feels like a 1st World Problem. I'd much rather be in Australia, where very few folks have died and the economy is still thriving, than in the States, where this whole thing has been needlessly politicized thanks to one man's petty ego and over 600,000 people are dead. Individual freedom in a society shouldn't mean freedom from personal responsibility to keep those around you safe. And @Freedom - Morrison may be a dingbat, but comparing him to Trump is ridiculous and disingenuous...furthermore, had I waited, I may not have been able to get out of Thailand "at any time" - the government there shut the international airports down quickly, and flights were almost 100% cancelled, other than inbound flights that were repatriating Thais back into the Kingdom and outbound flights that were repatriating other Asians back into their home countries. I couldn't go through Cambodia, Myanmar, China, or Vietnam...the only reason I was able to get back to the States when I did was by declaring to the Thai and Korean authorities that the US was my final destination and that I would not be returning to Asia - Korea was not letting folks in and put a (very) strict limit on transferring passengers...I was lucky I got out when I did, as expat friends of mine still living in Thailand only just got out this May.

    22. freedom Guest

      Did I compare them? I merely pointed out that both are incompetent, and both are.

      You can transit through Singapore to anywhere Singapore airline serves for most of the time, if not all the time.

    23. Ralph4878 Guest

      @freedom yes, you compared them when categorizing them in the same way. And thank you for pointing out re: Singapore - as if you were there when I was trying to leave Thailand and knew what options I had.

  61. JS Guest

    Australia, are you there? Australia, we have lost contact… Come in Australia. Australia this is your friends and family, can you hear us? If are there please make yourself known. Hello??? Anybody…. Anybody at all?

  62. AA Guest

    I mean, australia was originally a prison colony, so.....

  63. Matthew Guest

    Australia is on its way to being the second Hermit Kingdom joining North Korea totally isolated from the rest of the world.

  64. Ed Guest

    It’s not a plan, if you read the release it has a big ‘maybe’ under each phase.

    The concern over quarantine is because there have been a number of outbreaks from quarantine; mainly because we’re still using hotels in the same way we have been for over a year, still haven’t managed to vaccinate everyone working in them, still haven’t fixed the ventilation and a re mixing low risk interstate travellers with international arrivals....

    It’s not a plan, if you read the release it has a big ‘maybe’ under each phase.

    The concern over quarantine is because there have been a number of outbreaks from quarantine; mainly because we’re still using hotels in the same way we have been for over a year, still haven’t managed to vaccinate everyone working in them, still haven’t fixed the ventilation and a re mixing low risk interstate travellers with international arrivals.

    The vaccination programme is going poorly, the PM told everyone it was not a race, we’ve had conflicting advice over which vaccine to get, we still don’t have our most vulnerable people vaccinated, (rates in disability care are a national shame). I’ve managed to get fully vaccinated but I’m one of a small minority and there are definitely people who should be ahead of me.

    Basically it has to be COVID-0 until after the election (may next year at the latest) if not longer and that means closed borders, because the alternative, vaccinating everyone, would have taken some organisation starting over a year ago.

  65. AussieBen Guest

    Hi Ben,

    The federal government has cut international arrivals to reduce the possible number of people with the new delta strain from entering. It’s about lowering risk by lowering numbers. It’s not foolproof but was demanded by the premiers of a number of state governments at today’s heads of government meeting. The federal government was forced to agree to placate the states.

    As for the delay to a return to normality, that has a lot...

    Hi Ben,

    The federal government has cut international arrivals to reduce the possible number of people with the new delta strain from entering. It’s about lowering risk by lowering numbers. It’s not foolproof but was demanded by the premiers of a number of state governments at today’s heads of government meeting. The federal government was forced to agree to placate the states.

    As for the delay to a return to normality, that has a lot to do with vaccine supply issues. We are quite down the international queue for more Pfizer shipments (important since health advice is ruling out Astra Zeneca for under 50s). The bulk of those will come around October and we should have full vaccination of all adults wanting it by January 2022.

    But Australia is charting a more cautious approach because there is still uncertainty about the virus and we will watch carefully what happens in North America and Europe during their winter. If the virus continues to mutate and takes hold amongst vaccinated populations (hopefully not but not out of the realm of possibility) then we won’t likely be opening our borders.

    For now, the majority of Australians (according to numerous polls) are happy to keep the borders closed. I cannot wait to travel overseas again but like most, I am willing to sacrifice that luxury and privilege until the virus is guaranteed to be under control at a global level.

    AussieBen

    1. freedom Guest

      I wonder whether there will be inquiry of how the epic failure of vaccine order happen in Australia after the crisis.

      In other country, the government would have resigned.

    2. AussieBen Guest

      Freedom,

      There was no epic failure of vaccine ordering. At the time, Astra Zeneca and Pfizer looked great. Astra could be locally produced, but Pfizer could not.

      As things developed, Astra proved less effective than originally thought and there was the blood clotting issue.

      The federal government somewhat took a gamble on Astra Zeneca. They did order Pfizer too (and have since ordered a lot more), but from what I understand we are down...

      Freedom,

      There was no epic failure of vaccine ordering. At the time, Astra Zeneca and Pfizer looked great. Astra could be locally produced, but Pfizer could not.

      As things developed, Astra proved less effective than originally thought and there was the blood clotting issue.

      The federal government somewhat took a gamble on Astra Zeneca. They did order Pfizer too (and have since ordered a lot more), but from what I understand we are down on the list for receiving as our need isn’t deemed as urgent as countries gripped by mass hospitalisation and death.

    3. Rob Guest

      The other aspect of this situation is that the US government is protecting Pfizer's IP so that the vaccine cannot be manufactured by other companies, effectively protecting Pfizer's ability to profit off of the crisis even when we've now reached the point that they've likely recouped the R&D investment to develop it in the first place. It has become pretty plain at this point that (1) Pfizer is the most effective of the vaccines that...

      The other aspect of this situation is that the US government is protecting Pfizer's IP so that the vaccine cannot be manufactured by other companies, effectively protecting Pfizer's ability to profit off of the crisis even when we've now reached the point that they've likely recouped the R&D investment to develop it in the first place. It has become pretty plain at this point that (1) Pfizer is the most effective of the vaccines that have come available and (2) there would be massive benefit in making it available on a global level. Pfizer's vaccine could probably be manufactured at AZ facilities in Australia (and other pharma facilities around the world), but since the US will not seek to have Pfizer share its technology, those companies would likely be forced to pay an astronomical sum for the privilege.

    4. OhHai Guest

      The US government has no control over Pfizer's IP because they didn't accept government funding during the development phase as other companies did (and most of the actual development work was done by BioNTech, a German company, which has also shared the license with Fosun in China). The Biden administration has otherwise indicated willingness to open up vaccine IP for international use.

      But that's not really the bottleneck, especially for the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer...

      The US government has no control over Pfizer's IP because they didn't accept government funding during the development phase as other companies did (and most of the actual development work was done by BioNTech, a German company, which has also shared the license with Fosun in China). The Biden administration has otherwise indicated willingness to open up vaccine IP for international use.

      But that's not really the bottleneck, especially for the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna. These types of vaccine are very new and the supply chain for certain components (particularly cationic lipids) is extremely constrained because they have never been produced at this scale before. This is one of the reasons why so many countries wanted to bet on AstraZeneca instead, as it would be far easier to produce using existing facilities. There are no facilities in Australia at the moment that can produce mRNA vaccines, though work is underway to build one in Victoria. Pfizer as a whole has only two facilities globally that can produce its mRNA vaccines at all (in Michigan and Belgium).

    5. freedom Guest

      Which other advanced economy puts all its eggs in one basket?

      Tell me that’s not a failure.

    6. AussieBen Guest

      Freedom,

      How is ordering supplies of the major approved vaccines putting all our eggs in a single basket? Astra Zeneca could be produced locally, Pfizer could not. The government still ordered plenty of doses of each from overseas anyway.

    7. freedom Guest

      Pfizer was not produced in SG or Israel, either. Or Japan.

      Japan relied on AstraZeneca in the beginning and quickly switch away to Pfizer.

    8. AussieBen Guest

      Freedom,

      You will find that bulk shipments of Pfizer are due to Japan, Israel and Australia in September/October. According to local media, Singapore aims for 75% adult vaccination by October and should reach 90% by early new year. That will be on par with Australia.

      So if Australia has epically failed then I guess Singapore has too. However, I don’t believe that to be the case at all. Most first world nations will be at extremely high rates by end of January.

    9. freedom Guest

      According to some reports, Japan has received 100 million doses of Pfizer and has administered more than 40 million doses. Another 70 million doses between now and September. How many Pfizer doses has Australia administered.

      Your news are certainly old about Singapore. We are going to give at least one doses to everyone who is interested by end of July and at least 2/3 fully vaccinated by August 9th, National Day.

    10. AussieBen Guest

      Freedom,

      My news is yesterday’s front pages from newspapers in Singapore.

      And 2/3 is 66%, which is in line with the 75% vaccination of Singaporeans by October.

      Although Australia got off to a slower start than other countries (partly out of an abundance of caution in waiting to see how effective the vaccines were and to what extent there were possible risks, and partly because Pfizer was prioritised for countries in desperate...

      Freedom,

      My news is yesterday’s front pages from newspapers in Singapore.

      And 2/3 is 66%, which is in line with the 75% vaccination of Singaporeans by October.

      Although Australia got off to a slower start than other countries (partly out of an abundance of caution in waiting to see how effective the vaccines were and to what extent there were possible risks, and partly because Pfizer was prioritised for countries in desperate need, which we were not) we will be at similar levels as other advanced countries by end of January.

      No argument to be had really. Not a fail, not a crisis. Hopefully some normality can then return to the world over the coming year or two and we can all get back to flying :)

    11. freedom Guest

      So conveniently you forgot the initial non-delivery of AstraZeneca from Europe? You mean that's because of "abundance of caution", not non-delivery of Europe-produced AstraZeneca vaccine? It is only saving grace that AstraZeneca vaccine can't make it and now Australians don't want it if they have better choices.

      And I would like to see your yesterday's front page. My data of 2/3 fully vaccinated have been more than one week old.

      https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-vaccine-target-national-day-lawrence-wong-15082394

      So conveniently you forgot the initial non-delivery of AstraZeneca from Europe? You mean that's because of "abundance of caution", not non-delivery of Europe-produced AstraZeneca vaccine? It is only saving grace that AstraZeneca vaccine can't make it and now Australians don't want it if they have better choices.

      And I would like to see your yesterday's front page. My data of 2/3 fully vaccinated have been more than one week old.

      https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-vaccine-target-national-day-lawrence-wong-15082394

    12. Ed Guest

      Not an abundance of caution, bungled vaccine procurement.

      Australia was very late signing contracts last year compared to other nations.

      We had tome to be cautious because we had no vaccines to administer.

    13. AussieBen Guest

      Ed,

      Yes, Australia waited longer than others to sign as we took on a wait and see approach. There was a lot of uncertainty about the efficacy of vaccines at that stage and there was also a desire to locally manufactured where possible since there were concerns about relying on imports. We were in a position to do so given our border and contract tracing controls working quite well. But it’s so easy to look...

      Ed,

      Yes, Australia waited longer than others to sign as we took on a wait and see approach. There was a lot of uncertainty about the efficacy of vaccines at that stage and there was also a desire to locally manufactured where possible since there were concerns about relying on imports. We were in a position to do so given our border and contract tracing controls working quite well. But it’s so easy to look back and say a government should have done x, y and z, isn’t it.

      Despite a later start date for vaccinations, we will be on par with other developed countries by January. Given that so many of those countries started earlier than us but will be equal to our vaccination percentages, perhaps those criticising Australia should turn to those other countries and ask why they’ve taken so incredibly long.

      But I do not think that helpful. We have had relatively few deaths (the vast majority of deaths coming from Victoria last year was very sad and was truly a case of bungled state leadership) and we are getting vaccinated. Lots to be happy about.

    14. Janet Gold

      Look at the variety of vaccines ordered I. Canada. The Aussie government failed its people. Period.

    15. AussieBen Guest

      Janet,

      Moderna has yet to be approved by the relevant Australian health authorities in charge of determining the appropriateness of vaccine use in the wider population. These authorities are independent of the government.

    16. Mike Guest

      The Delta variant is nothing but media hype. It may be more transmissible but early data has shown that it is not more dangerous. In fact, the CDC here in the US lists the two most common symptoms as sore throat and runny nose, AKA the common cold. It's easy to get wrapped up in all the doom and gloom but people somehow still fail to realize that the overwhelming majority of people who get...

      The Delta variant is nothing but media hype. It may be more transmissible but early data has shown that it is not more dangerous. In fact, the CDC here in the US lists the two most common symptoms as sore throat and runny nose, AKA the common cold. It's easy to get wrapped up in all the doom and gloom but people somehow still fail to realize that the overwhelming majority of people who get Covid either have no symptoms or very mild ones comparable to typical seasonal respiratory illnesses. I honestly believe that Covid will go down as one the most over-hyped things in human history. People still compare it to the 1918 flu that killed 50 million people worldwide in 2 years (200 million in today's numbers). Covid has killed under 4 million worldwide in 1.5 years...

    17. Craig Guest

      Stop making so much sense. ;)

  66. Chris Guest

    Hi Ben, you said "personally I believe that once all people at serious risk have access to an effective vaccine, and when the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed, life should mostly return to normal." The key issue is that there is no access to an effective vaccine here, our government simply didn't order enough to go around.

    Australia is dead last in the developed world for covid vaccinations. I dont expect to get a vaccine until...

    Hi Ben, you said "personally I believe that once all people at serious risk have access to an effective vaccine, and when the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed, life should mostly return to normal." The key issue is that there is no access to an effective vaccine here, our government simply didn't order enough to go around.

    Australia is dead last in the developed world for covid vaccinations. I dont expect to get a vaccine until early next year at best, which is frustrating as i watch the rest of the world open up.

    At this rate it will be years before Australia is open to tourism again, and it will be years before I can visit my partners family in Canada. It has been illegal for Australian citizens to leave the country for over a year now.

    The general public would love to open up to tourism again but the reality is that we are trapped here with no vaccines and no clear path out of this mess.

    1. AussieBen Guest

      Chris,

      The government ordered more than enough to go around, many times over. The problem is it placed heavy faith in Astra Zeneca and that turned out to be problematic after health advice shifted, advising under 50s not to get it and instead to have Pfizer.

      The bulk of ordered Pfizer shipments are due last quarter of the year. We manufacture Astra locally and have a lot of it on hand right now, but...

      Chris,

      The government ordered more than enough to go around, many times over. The problem is it placed heavy faith in Astra Zeneca and that turned out to be problematic after health advice shifted, advising under 50s not to get it and instead to have Pfizer.

      The bulk of ordered Pfizer shipments are due last quarter of the year. We manufacture Astra locally and have a lot of it on hand right now, but health advice is discouraging its use by younger people and a lot of older people are concerned by the blood clotting stories.

      The problem is not simply that the government failed to order enough vaccine.

    2. Chris Guest

      Let me rephrase, government failed to order enough effective vaccines and have it delivered in a timely manner. The rest of the word is on its way to being vaccinated and opening up and we're literally locked in here with no way to leave waiting on promised vaccines.

    3. AussieBen Guest

      Chris,

      They took a gamble, partly because Astra could be locally manufactured and Pfizer couldn’t. At the time, both vaccines looked great.

      Turns out that Astra isn’t so good, what with its lower efficacy rate and the blood clotting dilemma.

      I don’t entirely think it’s fair to simply blame the federal government. They have largely taken an acceptable cautious approach with the vaccines, delaying jumping into using them initially because nobody was really...

      Chris,

      They took a gamble, partly because Astra could be locally manufactured and Pfizer couldn’t. At the time, both vaccines looked great.

      Turns out that Astra isn’t so good, what with its lower efficacy rate and the blood clotting dilemma.

      I don’t entirely think it’s fair to simply blame the federal government. They have largely taken an acceptable cautious approach with the vaccines, delaying jumping into using them initially because nobody was really sure what problems might arise.

      And we still don’t really know if mass vaccination is going to put an end to all of this. We may very well see everything flare up during the northern hemisphere winter, especially with the virus’ mutating habit. I really hope not, but if so the minority of Australians unhappy with the government won’t be so unhappy should we see mass hospitalisation of vaccinated Americans and Europeans at Christmas.

    4. freedom Guest

      Only in your dream that there will be mass hospitalisation of vaccinated Americans. Yes, the vaccinated can still get COVID, but the chance of hospitalisation is very low with Pfizer vaccine. With your Aussie AstraZeneca, maybe UK would be a good example.

    5. AussieBen Guest

      Freedom,

      If the virus continues to mutate, the vaccines might prove ineffective with newer strains. I hope not, but we need to be accepting that it’s possible.

    6. freedom Guest

      It is possible that the world ends tomorrow. But there is little science in it.

      Virus does not mutate completely wildly. Its core genetic information hardly changes longer than people imagine.

    7. Gladys Berejiklian Guest

      There is only one “strain” of pandemic coronavirus on planet earth: SARS-CoV-2. Variants are not different viruses.

      Stop conflating different terminology, and stop assuming the worst will happen. I mean, unless you want Australia permanently cut off from humanity.

    8. Ed Guest

      You seem very willing to let the government off the hook. They absolutely failed at vaccine procurement. They took a massive risk by overweighting their procurement towards a vaccines that could be made here, AZ and UQ. They bought a lot Pfizer, no Modena and only placed 4 bets in total, when other countries were buying into 7 or more.

      This stratagy failed. UQ never got out of trials, and AZ whilst a very...

      You seem very willing to let the government off the hook. They absolutely failed at vaccine procurement. They took a massive risk by overweighting their procurement towards a vaccines that could be made here, AZ and UQ. They bought a lot Pfizer, no Modena and only placed 4 bets in total, when other countries were buying into 7 or more.

      This stratagy failed. UQ never got out of trials, and AZ whilst a very good and largely safe vaccine has some issues. Australia never had enough of anything on other than AZ on order to vaccinate the population until after the ATAGI advice changed and by then it was too late. The government was too cheap to commit to the costs of mRNA for everyone last year, and now it’s paying the price.

      You say that we still don’t know if mass vaccination will put and end to this, but wouldn’t it be better if we were in a position to find out?

    9. ChrisGVA Guest

      it's so easy to blame the lack of luck, Switzerland ordered Astra, Pfizer, Moderna, Curevac and other.
      We finally used only Pfizer and Moderna.

      AZ doesn't has been approved here and the 4 millions dose will be offered soon to WHO (I guess efficiency was the real reason).
      Johnson delivery where not expected before 6 months (in march 2021) so our gov did not order it, but added more Pfizer and Moderna.
      ...

      it's so easy to blame the lack of luck, Switzerland ordered Astra, Pfizer, Moderna, Curevac and other.
      We finally used only Pfizer and Moderna.

      AZ doesn't has been approved here and the 4 millions dose will be offered soon to WHO (I guess efficiency was the real reason).
      Johnson delivery where not expected before 6 months (in march 2021) so our gov did not order it, but added more Pfizer and Moderna.
      Curevac showed recently the low efficiency, we will not use it.

      A Government need to be pro-active, hire the right specialists, have second solutions in case. Everything your government don't do... So no surprise the new plan is a joke again.

    10. Janet Gold

      I think the current inability to control the spread of the Delta virus highlights the shortcomings of the insular policies adopted. From what I hear from Oz, people are not happy with the government’s handling. It was dumb to focus just on the AZ vaccine. So far in the US if you live in a state with a high vax rate, as I do, there are very few new cases and life is back to normal. So far the vaccines are proving they prevent Delta et al variants.

    11. [email protected] Guest

      Chris, I’m about to my second dose next week and I live in regional NSW, my god daughter in VIC is 18 and she got her first dose yesterday. If you really want to get vaccinated, pull your finger out and go do it you stupid blodger.

  67. keitherson Guest

    hahahahahaha enjoy Prison Island, Aussies. Quite frankly I haven't really missed Aussie tourists, so this is win-win.

  68. Geoff Guest

    Maybe Aussies will happily comply. Maybe they will revolt. Either way, these politicians and “health officials” seem to almost enjoy controlling their population. This plan is crap. If I were a local I would lose my mind at this paranoia. They better learn to live with it sooner rather than later. The world will leave them behind.

    1. Steve Gold

      I feel bad for all Australians and especially those that work in the tourism industry. Their leadership has been pathetic, none of their plans have worked and they seem to be the only wealthy country having problems with the vaccines. What a joke Australia has become.

    2. Janet Gold

      Speaking to my brother in Oz, they are fed up with the border closures and slow pace of vaccine rollout. It is not vaccine reluctance but rather slowness by the government to obtain supply.

    3. Hutch Guest

      While I agree with the sentiment, the reality is every single state Government that has faced re-election during covid, has been re-elected.

      Let's remember, when vaccines were being purchased, countries with bigger markets and indeed manufacturers themselves, obtained that supply... That kind of made sense, considering the situation they were facing at the time. I don't doubt the roll out could be quicker, but we are talking a couple months, not borders open tomorrow...

      While I agree with the sentiment, the reality is every single state Government that has faced re-election during covid, has been re-elected.

      Let's remember, when vaccines were being purchased, countries with bigger markets and indeed manufacturers themselves, obtained that supply... That kind of made sense, considering the situation they were facing at the time. I don't doubt the roll out could be quicker, but we are talking a couple months, not borders open tomorrow kind of scenario. We are a small market, a long way from the bigger markets.

      I hope your brother has gone and got his AstraZ shot then.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Chris Guest

Let me rephrase, government failed to order enough effective vaccines and have it delivered in a timely manner. The rest of the word is on its way to being vaccinated and opening up and we're literally locked in here with no way to leave waiting on promised vaccines.

6
Geoff Guest

Maybe Aussies will happily comply. Maybe they will revolt. Either way, these politicians and “health officials” seem to almost enjoy controlling their population. This plan is crap. If I were a local I would lose my mind at this paranoia. They better learn to live with it sooner rather than later. The world will leave them behind.

6
Ed Guest

You seem very willing to let the government off the hook. They absolutely failed at vaccine procurement. They took a massive risk by overweighting their procurement towards a vaccines that could be made here, AZ and UQ. They bought a lot Pfizer, no Modena and only placed 4 bets in total, when other countries were buying into 7 or more. This stratagy failed. UQ never got out of trials, and AZ whilst a very good and largely safe vaccine has some issues. Australia never had enough of anything on other than AZ on order to vaccinate the population until after the ATAGI advice changed and by then it was too late. The government was too cheap to commit to the costs of mRNA for everyone last year, and now it’s paying the price. You say that we still don’t know if mass vaccination will put and end to this, but wouldn’t it be better if we were in a position to find out?

5
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