Australia is opposed to allowing international travel right now.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday it was not the right time to allow vaccinated residents and tourists to travel.
Morrison said it was still not safe to allow residents, even those that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, to travel overseas. As the country's economy struggles to recover from the international health crisis, industries hit hard by the pandemic are demanding the government reopen its borders.
"I understand that everyone is keen to get back to a time that we once knew. But the reality is we are living this year in a pandemic that is worse than last year," Morrison said.
Morrison said when the time was right and "when it is safe to do so," the country will relax its border rules for vaccinated travelers going in and out of Australia. Morrison didn't specify when he would reopen borders - but he has previously mentioned international travel might resume by the middle of 2022.
Airlines, tourism companies, universities and other companies reliant on international travel have been encouraging the federal government to fast track reopening.
This includes accelerating its vaccination plan, which currently aims to fully inoculate the entire population by the end of the year. In New South Wales - the country's most populous state - officials said they would allow unrestricted travel only when at least 80% of the population was fully vaccinated.
"We can't keep (COVID-19) out forever...It will make us sick but won't put us into hospital. Some people may die but it will be way smaller than the flu," Virgin Australia head, Jayne Hrdlicka, said in an interview Tuesday. Morrison slammed Hrdlicka's statement and called it "somewhat insensitive."
When the pandemic hit, Australia was one of the first countries to fully close borders to noncitizens and nonpermanent residents. The nation closed its borders to international travel in March 2020 - a decision that helped it keep its infection numbers relatively low compared to other countries.