Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has reportedly told healthcare workers in a private seminar that Australia cannot keep going with its “fortress approach” against Covid-19 and will soon have to “make a call on letting it run”.
According to attendees at an April event Professor Sutton told the audience that vaccinations were not progressing as fast as he would like, stressing that the sooner the majority of Australians complete receiving the doses of the vaccine the country will be able to open, The Age reports.
“We need to somehow communicate to the public that we’ve gotten to a place of complacency because we’ve driven transmission to zero but we will face newly emerging transmission, and a critical juncture where we need to make a call on letting it run,” he said.
“I think that’ll be when we’ve got as high vaccination coverage for the adult population as we can possibly get to, so everyone being offered it, and building that confidence in vaccines as much as we can … then we need to really say ‘look, we can’t sit on our hands here’. While public sentiment may still support closures now, it will change as people are vaccinated and business people need to travel, families need to be united and we come to realise how much it is costing our country,” explained Sutton.
Meanwhile, there is a lot of opposition to the prolonged border closure; amongst those urging for Australia to reopen at least for citizens and residents is federal Victorian MP Tim Wilson who stated that the country is on the verge of becoming a “hermit outpost”, adding that seclusion from the rest of the world is essentially “not sustainable”.
“We all need to step up to get vaccinated in order to open up Australia to world travel and arrivals so that our education sector, tourism sector and all of the other kinds of compassionate reasons for us to see family and friends overseas can come to the fore.”
Furthermore, amid discussions pertaining to the federal budget, government officials expressed the goal to have all Australians receive the jab by the end of 2021. Even so, the projected opening of the borders won’t be until mid-2022.
“We are not pursuing a [COVID-19] elimination strategy … you can’t eliminate the virus,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Saturday.
At the same time, only 10 per cent of Australia’s population has received at least one dose; of those more than 30 per cent of people aged 70 and over.