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Australians could be able to book an overseas trip within months with coronavirus vaccines set to arrive in January.
Tourism minister Simon Birmingham anticipated that international travel would resume in 2021, but will hinge upon the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Senator Birmingham said overseas travel in the first six months of the year 'may be challenging' but there was a good chance of a resumption in the latter half.
'The manufacturing rollout, distribution, uptake, all the other factors that come into how it is that a vaccine could change the way we look at things around this pandemic,' he told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program. © Provided by Daily MailAustralians could be able to book an overseas trip within months with coronavirus vaccines set to arrive in January (Pictured: Passengers boarding at Sydney airport)
The Australian government had supply agreements with several of the companies leading the race to develop a vaccine.
A nasal spray with the potential to fight Covid-19 and other respiratory viral infections will also be tested in the hopes of manufacturing it domestically. © Provided by Daily MailHealth authorities are seen testing people in cars at Victoria Park COVID testing centre in Adelaide
The federal government said that along with a private partner it would provide $11.7 million to fund the testing, as part of the Biomedical Translation Fund.
'This investment will continue the proud Australian tradition of discovery and translation that saves lives and improves lives,' Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement.
The first batch of vaccines are expected to arrive by New Year's Day but most Australians may have to wait months to get the jab.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology firm CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28 but will need to finish its clinical trials.
Video: South Australian government 'sought to manage' risk at the time of outbreak (Sky News Australia)
After that it must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is expected to delay the rollout of the jab to the end of January.
That would still be far earlier than Mr Hunt's earlier forecast that the first dose of a successful vaccine won't be available until March. © Provided by Daily MailSenior federal cabinet minister Simon Birmingham has said international travel may be back on the cards in 2021, but it will depend on the effectiveness of the vaccine
Meanwhile, South Australia emerged from its hard lockdown on Sunday, three days earlier than envisaged after a pizza shop worker on a temporary work visa was found to have lied about how he contacted the virus. © Provided by Daily MailThe AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology giant CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28
Even so, SA chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said she had no regrets about ordering the the lockdown after modelling showed her state had a 99 per cent chance of enduring a 'significant wave'.
SA recorded just one new case on Sunday, a woman in her 20s who is quarantined in a hotel after travelling overseas.
Among its list of easing restriction, South Australians can now attend pubs and restaurants in groups of 10, hold private gatherings of up to 50 people and go to beauty salons and gyms. © Provided by Daily MailThe AstraZeneca jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe (pictured CSL staff work on the vaccine)
Of the pizza worker, federal Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor said people shouldn't lie, noting there had been similar problems in his own state of Victoria which made it harder for health teams to deal with.
But he also said actions by the federal government that leave people without support do have consequences.
'We did say there should be modest support for people on temporary visas,' Mr O'Connor told the ABC's Insiders.
'You can't give them nothing because they will end up being in a difficult situation as clearly is the case with respect to this particular individual.'
In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that from midnight on Sunday compulsory face mask-wearing will come to an end for Melbourne along with a further easing of other restrictions. © Provided by Daily MailSouth Australia emerged from its hard lockdown on Sunday, earlier than envisaged after a pizza shop worker on a temporary work visa was found to have lied about how he contacted the virus
'Masks will be required inside in all settings, they will not be required while outside,' Mr Andrews said.
'However you need to carry the mask with you because you will have to wear the mask outside if you can't socially distance.'
At the same time, NSW's three-month border checkpoint operation with Victoria will come to an end, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian championing her state as the only Australian territory 'which welcomes everyone'.
'All Australians are welcomed in NSW, all New Zealanders are welcome to NSW without quarantine,' she told reporters from nearby the Albury checkpoint.