Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday declared that the country has successfully has beaten a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
His declaration came after a meeting of the National Cabinet, which consists of the Prime Minister and state and territory leaders, to discuss Australia’s ongoing response to the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.
Following the meeting he told reporters that “we have beaten the third wave” that began with an infection clusters in Sydney.
Despite the good news, he said that the cap on international arrivals to Australia would not be lifted until February 15.
Arrivals to New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland were halved earlier in January in response to the threat of the mutant Covid-19 strain.
As of Friday, Australia had recorded zero new cases of community transmission for five days.
“There is the opportunity for me to engage with individual states and territories on a bilateral basis if we can create additional capacity,” Morrison said.
“But that is not an indication that (it) will occur.”
More than 35,000 Australian residents or citizens who have registered to return to the country remain stranded overseas.
The National Cabinet also on Friday discussed Australia’s vaccine program, which is set to begin in February, and supply issues with the Pfizer vaccine amid high demand.
“I think we’re being very careful to be clear about expectations here. We know that we’d be starting at a small scale before moving to a much greater scale,” Morrison said.
“We’ve set out indicative time frames when we would hope to commence, in mid- to late-February, but that will obviously change and be subject to any impacts on production schedules overseas.
“There are huge demands across Europe from other clients. So, we’ll just continue to work through that and we’ll update the Australian people, as we have information available to us.”
Australia has so far reported 28,755 confirmed coronavirus cases and 909 deaths.