— Internet News

Scott Morrison in no rush to further ease borders as trans-Tasman travel bubble finally opens

Two-way travel between Australia and New Zealand began on Sunday night, and one of the federal cabinet’s tasks is plotting how international borders can ease further in the coming months. But Scott Morrison is in no rush to lift international restrictions when the COVID-19 pandemic rages worldwide. The global death toll from coronavirus has topped three million people, and the prime minister said issues around borders and how they are managed will be handled very carefully.

“But the idea on one day that everything just opens, that is not how this will happen,” Mr. Morrison told reporters in Adelaide on Sunday. “It will be happening cautiously and carefully, working very hard on the medical and health protections in place because I’m not going to put at risk the way Australians live today.”

The federal cabinet will meet on Monday, the first of twice-weekly gatherings following the vaccine rollout being thrown into disarray after health authorities recommended that that the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to people over 50 after blood-clotting was linked to younger people. Discussions will include changes to Australia’s vaccination policy, including state vaccination implementation plans, in the wake of the new advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine and additional supplies of Pfizer doses.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the vaccine rollout had been a “debacle”.

“Scott Morrison has had more than a year to prepare for the rollout of the vaccine,, but what we have is him giving up on the timetable, giving up on telling Australians what they want to know,” he told reporters in Hobart.

“Australians want to know when they’ll be vaccinated.”

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia is approaching 1.5 million vaccinations after some 330,000 jabs were completed in the past week.

He said GPs continue to be the cornerstone of the program. Still, in the future, with the very strong support of the states, the federal cabinet will consider ways the states can assist with larger vaccination clinics.

From Wednesday, Victorians over 70 can attend a vaccine center and get jabbed without an appointment as the state prepares to scale its rollout.

“We’ve worked around the clock to find solutions to get vaccines in people’s arms as quickly and safely as possible,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said.

But Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein, in the heat of an election campaign, is concerned about the federal government’s delays and lack of communication about the vaccine rollout for residents and staff at disability and aged care residential facilities.

“We are in a good place, but we cannot afford to go backward,” he said.

The third case linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine was a woman who died from blood clotting last week. The first two cases are still in the hospital.

The nation’s chief nurse Alison McMillan recognizes there could be hesitancy in vaccination but encourages anyone with concerns to talk to their health professional, GP, or nurse practitioner.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, who was recently the minister of science and technology, offered some hope for vaccine support in the future.

She says Australia can manufacture an mRNA-type COVID-19 vaccine like Pfizer’s but cannot produce it at scale.

The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people under 50, a treatment for which the government has secured a further 20 million doses, but they won’t arrive until late in the year.

Ms. Andrews said it is “absolutely” possible Australia could manufacture an mRNA vaccine and that work is already underway to try and make its production possible at scale.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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