Australia’s borders are likely to remain closed until at least early 2022, according to the country’s former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
He said the Australian vaccine deployment has been “a colossal failure” because the government did not buy enough vaccines last year.
There is also a great deal of hesitancy about the AstraZeneca vaccine among Australians, he added.
When asked about a timeline for the reopening of Australia’s borders, he said: “Probably not before the first quarter of next year.”
The country is unlikely to get enough vaccine doses until October or November 2021, he added.
“It’s the biggest failure of public administration I can recall,” said Turnbull, who served as prime minister from 2015 to 2018.
“It was a colossal failure and the problem is you can’t wind the clock back and fix what should have been done last year.
“The very reason we are locked down – which is so frustrating when so many other parts of the world are opening up – is simply because our government failed to buy enough vaccines.”
Only 16% of Australians aged over 16 are so far fully vaccinated, according to the Telegraph.
Earlier this year, the current PM Scott Morrison said Australia may open up to overseas tourists again by 2022 – but possibly only to those who have been vaccinated.
The country has been pursuing a “zero-Covid” policy during the pandemic and its borders are closed except to Australian citizens, permanent residents and some exemptions.
Any arrivals must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility.