PM refuses to link jab numbers to opening

·3-min read

Australians have been warned reaching a population-wide vaccination target will not trigger a federal government decision to open international borders.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday was adamant a certain portion of Australians being immunised against coronavirus would not automatically lead to travel restarting.

He argued the United Kingdom was recording more than 4000 new cases a day despite 77 per cent of adults having received one dose.

"The vaccination program is incredibly important and that will give us more and more and more options going forward," Mr Morrison told 6PR radio on Thursday.

"But I'm not about to swing the doors open and open up Australia to 4000 cases a day."

Mr Morrison said allowing similar case numbers would ruin the nation's economy through lockdowns and border closures.

The prime minister said international borders would remain shut for as long as was needed to protect health and the economy.

"There's no medical advice that I've received at any point in time, which gives a magical number of vaccinations that enable you to provide that level of assuredness to Australians about when that can occur."

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said at current rates it would take a long time to vaccinate the world.

"It will take a huge commitment from developed, rich countries that have vaccine manufacturing capabilities to share that with the whole world," he told reporters in Canberra.

"That's how we get out of this together."

The federal budget assumed a gradual return to international travel from mid-next year, with voters due to be sent to the polls between August and May.

State and territory governments have ridden a wave of popularity stemming from border closures and other tough coronavirus prevention measures.

Elections held during the pandemic in Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, the NT and ACT have returned incumbent governments.

In the UK, 77 per cent of people have received their first dose and 54 per cent both jabs.

The Australian government doesn't release daily data about how many people have been fully vaccinated but the figure was about three per cent earlier in the week.

Almost 5.5 million doses have been administered nationwide as the sluggish rollout slowly gathers momentum.

"We were told we'd be at the front of the queue and we're not in the top 100 of countries," Labor leader Anthony Albanese said.

A 52-year-old woman has been confirmed as the second death in Australia linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been injected 3.6 million times nationwide.

"This remains an extremely rare event to get these clots but when they happen, as we've seen in this case, it can have tragic circumstances," Professor Kelly said.

There have been just 15 serious cases of the side effect.

Victoria recorded four new cases on Thursday ahead of Melbourne's lockdown easing at midnight.

The city will no longer be declared a Commonwealth hotspot.

A couple who travelled from Victoria to Queensland through NSW five days after the shutdown started have tested positive.

Authorities are hopeful the risk of transmission is lower with the pair having contracted the disease about two weeks ago.

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