Health chief says international travel unlikely until 2022

The man who led Australia’s coronavirus response in his former role as chief health officer has said international travel will not likely happen this year irrespective of a vaccine rollout.

Secretary of the Department of Health Professor Brendan Murphy said there were still too many unknowns for the government to open up international borders this year.

“I think we will go most of this year with substantial border restrictions, even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus and it is likely that quarantine will continue for some time,” he told ABC.

“One of the things about this virus is that the rule book has been made up as we go. I was very careful early on, I remember saying this to the Prime Minister, I don’t want to predict more than two or three months ahead.

“The world is changing so at the moment we have this light at the end of the tunnel, the vaccine, so we will go as safely and as fast as we can to get the population vaccinated and we will look at what happens then.”