'No Vision' For Resuming International Travel, Aussie CMO Says
Australia's Chief Medical Officer has provided a grim prediction for international travel, claiming he cannot see a point in time Australians will be able to travel abroad again.
Professor Brendan Murphy told a Senate inquiry on Wednesday there is “no clear road map” out of the international lockdown.
“I cannot see border measures (being lifted), they will be one of the last things to go,” Professor Murphy said.
“Two-thirds of our cases have been overseas-acquired and recent analysis in academic literature has shown that those countries that have done the best have introduced border measures,” he added.
“I have no vision at the moment on the current international scene where international border measures of some very strong vigour won’t be necessary.”
Professor Murphy said he believes the true number of global coronavirus cases will grow to 20 million, rather than the 4.3 million reported.
While Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said a commercially available vaccine would be vital if the international travel ban was lifted -- which he expects could be at least a year away.
“A vaccine would be welcome for all sorts of reasons, including an ability to open the borders, and more importantly to bring the pandemic under control,” he said.
It comes as the World Health Organisation warns coronavirus "may never go away".
"It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away," WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan told an online briefing on Wednesday.
"I think it is important we are realistic and I don't think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear," he added.
"I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be."