COVID update: Federal health department secretary hopeful international travel can resume next year — as it happened

Murphy ‘hopeful’ international travel will be possible in 2022

Keen to get back to travelling overseas? Well, you might be able to pack your bags and head off next year.

Federal Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy says he’s hopeful international travel will be possible in 2022, as alternatives to the existing hotel quarantine system can be considered.

“As we get more and more Australians vaccinated, and as more and more countries around the world get vaccinated, we will start to progressively look at what sort of border and quarantine measures we have to do,” Dr Murphy told Sky News.

“We might think about for example reducing the length of quarantine, or more home quarantine, particularly for vaccinated people. Our risk tolerance will change over the second half of this year. I think what I’ve said is nobody can really predict what will happen with international borders, I’m hopeful that pretty good international travel will happen next year but it’s just too early to tell because there are things we don’t know about the vaccines yet.”

Dr Murphy said he believed life in Australia would eventually get back to a “new normal” but he urged patience.

“Everyone might need an annual booster dose like we have with flu, but as long as most of the population are protected, most people who get this virus have mild disease but as long as we’ve protected those vulnerable people, I think we can get back to normal. But we just need to be patient.”

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