Scott Morrison says Aussies who refuse to take Covid-19 vaccine could be forced into a two-week quarantine when they enter the country
- Australia has deals to get hold of four vaccines and could roll jabs out in March
- Vaccine will be optional but government will find ways to encourage take-up
- Scott Morrison suggested government could quarantine arrivals with no jab
Scott Morrison has revealed Australians who refuse to get a Covid-19 vaccine could be forced to quarantine for two weeks when they enter the country unless they have a ‘genuine medical reason’ not to get the jab.
The prime minister has previously said a vaccine, which is expected to roll out in March, will be optional but the government will find ways to encourage people to take it.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce sparked anger from anti-vaxxers and vaccine skeptics on Sunday when he said his airline may ban people who have not taken the jab from international flights.
Scott Morrison has suggested Australians who refuse to get a Covid-19 vaccine will be forced to quarantine for two weeks when they enter. Pictured: Passengers arrive in Melbourne
Asked about the policy on KIIS radio on Wednesday, Mr Morrison compared coronavirus to yellow fever, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes.
Under federal law anyone entering from a country with yellow fever without a jab can be placed under ‘quarantine surveillance’ which does not restrict their movement but requires them to seek assessment from a doctor if they develop symptoms of yellow fever.
‘When there has been yellow fever and things like that there is a requirement that people are vaccinated, and if they’re not, there is a requirement to quarantine on entry into Australia,’ Mr Morrison said.
He hinted that a more strict policy could be applied for Covid-19, with a quarantine period of 14 days, which is currently in place for returned travellers.
‘Where people have the choice of two weeks of quarantine or being vaccinated, I think that will be an incentive, unless there is a genuine medical reason,’ Mr Morrison said.
Australia has deals to get hold of four vaccine candidates and will roll out doses to the vulnerable and priority workers early next year if they are approved by regulators.
The prime minister has previously said a vaccine, which is expected to roll out in March, will be optional but the government will find ways to encourage people to take it
Other options to encourage vaccine take-up include withholding government support from people who do not get the jab.
The government already does this under the 2015 ‘no jab, no pay’ rule that stops parents getting some tax benefits, Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate payments if they refuse to vaccinate their child against other illnesses.
The International Air Transport Association announced it was in the ‘final stages’ of developing a digital health pass that can be used to record Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and will ‘support the safe reopening of borders’.
Japan Airlines and Korean Air said they had no plans to make a vaccine mandatory for travel.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters on Tuesday there had not been a decision on border or re-entry rules around potential vaccines.
‘Our task is to provide the vaccine to all Australians,’ he said.
Australia has deals to get hold of four vaccine candidates and will roll out doses to the vulnerable and priority workers early next year if they are approved by regulators