Australia May Not Open Border Until Late 2022, Minister Says

Australia’s trade minister said the country’s international borders may not completely open until the second half of 2022, a longer-than-anticipated closure that would be a blow to the airline and tourism industries, Bloomberg News reported. In an interview with Sky News early on Friday, Dan Tehan was asked when Australia’s borders might open. “The best guess would be in the middle to the second half of next year, but as we’ve seen throughout this pandemic things can change,” Tehan said, according to audio of the conversation sent by his office. Australia’s international borders have been closed since early last year to stem the spread of Covid-19, even though an air-travel bubble with New Zealand opened last month. Delays to the country’s vaccination program and the emergence of highly contagious coronavirus mutations, especially in India, are hampering plans to lift travel restrictions more broadly. The Australian government initially expected inoculations to be largely complete by October, though the rollout has been pushed into 2022 because of medical complications tied to the AstraZeneca Plc jab. Tehan’s comments call into question Qantas Airways Ltd.’s plan to open most of its international network from late October. Read more.