CMO Moves On But Not Before Dropping The Bomb That Overseas Travel Will Likely Remain Impossible Until We Have A Vaccine
Australia's international borders likely won’t fully reopen until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found, says Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy ahead of his departure from the role, reports the ABC. Cheers Brendan.
The good news is that Professor Murphy reckons that among the hundreds of “candidate molecules” being assessed by scientists worldwide, we’re not all that far from discovering a vaccine.
Murphy was supposed to have wrapped up his CMO role in favour of starting as Secretary of the Health Department back in February, but the move was put on hold when the govt realised just how serious the threat of COVID-19 was.
Looking back on that time, Murphy said he was poring over the latest infection stats when it became clear the virus could easily spread human-to-human, and that it was already spreading significantly in China, outside its originating Hubei Province.
Murphy reportedly rang Health Minister Greg Hunt, saying: "I think we need to do what is not normal public health policy." "[The World Health Organisation] don't support it … we need to try and stop importation, so we need to close the borders with China."
Mr Hunt then says he called Scott Morrison and, a few urgent meetings later, the PM announced the border to China would be shut to all non-residents at midnight that night – a drastic move, but one that played a key role in stopping the spread of the virus on our shores.
"It was a very useful decision, I think, fateful maybe," Murphy said.
Murphy’s international border prediction comes off yesterday’s news that Qantas wouldn’t be resuming international flights any time before July 2021. The airline also announced that at least 6000 jobs from Qantas and Jetstar would be cut.
The company’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said in a press conference that the airline was permanently retiring its remaining Boeing 747 aircraft six months earlier than planned, and that its 12 long-haul Airbus A380 planes would be grounded for three years. Joyce also said he thought that even when our borders did reopen, the number of international flights in 2021-22 would be just half the number that they were pre-pandemic, and that in 2022-23, they'd still only be at two-thirds of what they once were.
Looks like we still have a very long way to go before we're off jetsetting again.
If your head is a little scrambled, make sure you pop over to WHO.int to get all of your official COVID-19 updates.
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