Gladys Berejiklian reveals ‘magic number’ she wants before reopening international borders

Erin LyonsNCA NewsWire
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hinted at how many vaccinations were needed before considering reopening borders. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short
Camera IconNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hinted at how many vaccinations were needed before considering reopening borders. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

Residents across NSW have been encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 vaccination, with the Premier warning against delaying the jab.

Gladys Berejiklian flagged a new vaccine target on Monday, unveiling the number needed before the state government would consider allowing international travel, though the federal government will ultimately have the final say.

She acknowledged about 10 million jabs were required to vaccinate the majority of the NSW population.

“We have around six million adults and you would think at least five million should be vaccinated before we can have those conversations (about borders),” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

“I’d like to see that happen sooner than the middle of next year, and that depends on how many doses we get and how quickly we can vaccinate our population.

“If we get the majority of our population vaccinated we can think about opening our international borders. I hope if the vaccine rollout is better than anticipated that date can be brought forward.”

Close to one million doses have been administered across the state through commonwealth clinics and NSW Health.

On Monday, NSW’s mass vaccination centre in Homebush started jabbing people in their 40s with surplus doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

AIRPORT TRAIN EVACUATION
Camera IconInternational borders aren’t due to open until 2022. NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker Credit: News Corp Australia

Close to 110,000 people aged between 40 and 49 registered their interest online to receive their shot within days of registration opening.

People older than 50 can also book their AstraZeneca jab at the mass vaccination centre.

On Monday the nation’s vaccine program entered another chapter, with Australians older than 50 able to roll up their sleeves at their local GP.

It had been two weeks since the vaccine was made available to Aussies aged between 50 and 70 but only at major vaccine hubs and specialist clinics.

Now, more than 4000 GPs are joining the program.

Anyone in their 50s to 70s can visit one of the thousands of GP clinics across Australia that are registered to be part of the rollout.

“There are over 4300 GPs delivering vaccines to people aged 50 years and over from May 17,” the Department of Health said in a statement.

“More than 1500 of those are in the regions, in regional, rural and remote Australia.”

Prime Minister
Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia will make decisions on borders based on the medical advice. NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles Credit: News Corp Australia

Scott Morrison this week warned it was “not safe” for Australia to turn the switch on its international border closure.

The Prime Minister rejected a growing push from MPs and business leaders to soon reopen the country after assumptions in the budget revealed border restrictions would not ease until mid-2022.

“It is not safe to take those next steps right now,” he said on Monday.

“It’s not one day the borders are open, one day the borders are closed.”

Mr Morrison said the government is working on the “next steps”.

Virgin Australia boss Jayne Hrdlicka has since urged leaders to open borders sooner even if “people die”.

Ms Hrdlicka said if vaccination levels were high enough, Australia should reopen sooner that mid-2022.

“COVID will be part of the community,” she told a business lunch in Brisbane on Monday.

“We will become sick with COVID and it won’t put us in hospital, and it won’t put people into dire straits because we’ll have a vaccine.

“Some people may die, but it will be way smaller than with the flu.”

Originally published as Gladys Berejiklian reveals ‘magic number’ she wants before reopening international borders

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