Queensland COVID vaccine CSL could be ready by 2021, opening up international borders

Health Minister Greg Hunt has painted an optimistic picture of what international travel could look like by the end of next year.

Australia has secured access to four different coronavirus vaccines – all of which are moving through their clinical trials ahead of schedule.

Thanks to the success of them all, Australia hopes to have its entire population vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of 2021.

And, if the world is able to follow suit, Mr Hunt said he could see international travel getting back to normal by the end of next year.

“What vaccination does, is it opens up the possibility of travel for Australians, so they can travel safely, they can return safely. It reduces the need for hotel quarantining, if somebody has been vaccinated. And these are really profound differences.”

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Could we see ‘widespread’ international travel by the end of 2021? Picture: Peter Parks/AFPSource:AFP

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While obviously “the disease will not disappear from the world overnight”, Mr Hunt said the promising news around vaccinations meant Australians could look to the future.

“We can add progressive layers of safety. We have opened a travel bubble with New Zealand. We are looking at opening travel bubbles with other low-risk countries. Then we will look at, above all else, bringing all Australians home,” Mr Hunt said.

“But then we will open up for students progressively, which for the University of Queensland and others is so critical, then progressively, the general population.

“It will be a progressive opening through the course of 2021. In an ideal world, if the vaccination strategy is completed, as we anticipate, then by the end of 2021, we will be very close to, let me put it this way, widespread international travel.”

Last month, Qantas indicated it is unlikely Australians will be able to fly to the US or UK with the airline for another year, with its chief executive outlining that this could “potentially” happen “by the end of 2021”.

Qantas hinted at future international travel unlikely until halfway through 2021.Source:Getty Images

Mr Joyce had previously said that he did not expect international flights, except for New Zealand, would resume before July 2021.

Instead, the airline hinted at plans to prioritise Asian markets above routes such as Los Angeles and London, as speculation mounts about Australia forming COVID-19 “bubbles” with countries with low case numbers such as Japan and Singapore.

“Both Qantas and Jetstar are keeping a close eye on new markets that might open up as a result of these bubbles – including places that weren’t part of our pre-COVID network,” Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said.

“By early next year, we may find that Korea, Taiwan and various islands in the Pacific are top Qantas destinations while we wait for our core international markets like the US and UK to re-open.”

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