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International travel restart: All eyes on European virus numbers

Coronavirus hospitalisation numbers in well-vaccinated European nations could be crucial to Australia's decision to restart international travel.

Coronavirus hospitalisation numbers in well-vaccinated European nations could be crucial to Australia’s decision to restart international travel.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government would be keeping a close watch on the rates of serious illness in coming months.

“We will see over the course of this summer in Europe, where a lot of people will be moving around under those new arrangements, and we’ll be able to see what the impact of that is,” he told Sky News.

“If the virus is there but the hospitalisations and the serious illness don’t occur and we see that on a sustained basis, well that says there is a potentially different pathway there.

“But the jury is not in on that yet. New variants like Delta and so on can change all that.”

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Australia has edged past six million doses as the sluggish vaccine rollout continues to gather momentum.

But the portion of the population that is fully immunised remains low, with the latest official figure around three per cent.

In contrast, major European nations are reporting high vaccination rates with the United Kingdom having administered two doses to almost 58 per cent of adults.

Europe’s “digital green certificate” scheme is set to start 1 July 2021, unlocking the door to international travel.

The certificate will take the form of a QR code on a smartphone or paper, letting authorities determine the status of a visitor based on records in their home EU country.

The certificate will show if a person has been vaccinated, had a recent negative test, or already has immunity based on recovery, and could provide the basis for waiving the quarantine requirements currently in place for many trips within the bloc.

Source: AAP