‘Biosecurity measures at Australian airports to remain in place for yrs’

Canberra, April 26 (IANS) Biosecurity measures at Australian airports will remain in place for years even restrictions on international travel imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic were lifted, a Minister said on Sunday.

Peter Dutton, Minister for home affairs, said that following the pandemic the Australian Border Force (ABF) will have responsibility for biosecurity measures at airports, reports Xinhua news agency.

“There will be an additional overlay of biosecurity at our airports for years to come,” he said.

“We don’t know what will happen next flu season, we don’t know whether there will be another pandemic in 12 months or 12 years’ time.

“We need to make sure we use the technology we have available and look at assessing that threat as the human threat crosses our borders.”

According to the Department of Health there have been 81 deaths and 6,703 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia as on Sunday morning – an increase of 16, or 0.24 per cent from 6,687 on Saturday morning.

Dutton said he believes that Australia’s relative success in preventing the spread of the virus can be attributed to the ban on international travel in March.

He said that recommencing travel between Australia and New Zealand, which has also successfully prevented the spread of COVID-19, would be the logical first step in easing those restrictions.

“You could look at an arrangement with New Zealand given they are at a comparable stage as we are in this fight against this virus,” he said.