- Australia's proposed 'coronavirus travel bubble' with New Zealand could be expanded to take in three very surprising countries – including CHINA
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Australia's proposed 'coronavirus travel bubble' with New Zealand could be expanded to take in three very surprising countries – including CHINA
- Nev Power, chair of the COVID recovery force, said travel may soon be allowed
- He said a trans-Tasman bubble could be expanded to include China and Japan
- South Korea and even Indonesia are also options for travel and trade, he said
- Dave Sharma said that Pacific Island nations could also be included in the deal
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Published: | Updated:
There has been a travel ban in place since March 24, amid fears COVID-19 – which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan – was being brought in from overseas.
But government officials intent on getting the economy moving are now discussing making a 'travel bubble' with China, Japan, South Korea – and maybe even Bali.
New Zealand is likely to be the first place where Australians can travel, thanks to the countries close partnership and low number of infections.
According to Nev Power, who heads up Australia's COVID recovery taskforce, people will soon have opportunities to go to a few key destinations in Asia.
This could include Japan, Korea and China, as well as Indonesia, but this is less likely because of its relatively poor healthcare.
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New Zealand could soon reopen its borders to Australian holidaymakers as part of a 'trans-Tasman bubble' (pictured, travellers leaving Auckland, New Zealand on April 8)
Australians may soon be able to go to a few key destinations in Asia, including China where the COVID-19 outbreak began (pictured, a wet market up and running in Guangzhou on May 4)
'I think there are opportunities within that to look at specific destinations and specific testing — departure and arrival testing — so that critical activities and key travel can get going earlier,' he told The West Australian.
'We have very significant trade links with Japan, Korea, China so there may be opportunities to restart that.
'Our resources sector relies very heavily on those Asian markets and there may be need for travel there.
'Indonesia there might be some particular challenges.'
The coronavirus outbreak began in China in December, infecting 82,000 people and causing 4,600 deaths.
In Japan, there have been 15,253 confirmed infections and 556 deaths.
South Korea has also relatively well during the global health crisis, with 10,806 infections and 2,255 deaths.
An Australian family waits to go into quarantine after landing at Adelaide airport on April 21 (pictured)
A woman is seen shopping at a wet market in Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly virus, on April 29 (pictured)
HOW SAFE ARE THESE ASIAN COUNTRIES?
Australia could soon open a travel bubble with several Asian countries, officials said.
These are their reported COVID-19 stats.
Mr Power was chosen by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to chair the National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission.
The idea of the 'trans-Tasman bubble' is that the movement of people and free trade would once again flow normally, while the rest of the world remains in COVID-19 lockdown.
Politician Dave Sharma said that trade and travel to the Pacific Islands should also be considered, as their governments had done a 'good job' in limiting the COVID-19 spread.
'By allowing normal air links and tourism to resume, we would provide a lifeline for many of these small economies,' he wrote in The Australian.
'The Pacific Islands could once more begin to access their biggest tourism markets, Australia and New Zealand.
'And it would provide an opportunity for many Aussies and Kiwis to take a holiday in our region, rather than further abroad, and get to know our own neighbourhood a little better.'
Travellers may soon be able to travel to the likes of Tokyo in Japan (pictured on May 5) as part of a coronavirus travel bubble agreement
Australia may even consider opening up travel with Indonesia, Nev Power, the chairman of the government's national COVID-19 Coordination Commission (pictured, a Bali beach)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said both countries would need to be confident they would neither import or export cases before travel between them is allowed.
Ms Ardern joined Australia's coronavirus cabinet meeting on Tuesday for the neighbouring countries to discuss reopening their borders to trans-Tasman travel following their successes in containing the disease.
Following the meeting Ms Ardern said the logistics of how the 'travel bubble' would work were still being discussed.
She said the 'trans-Tasman bubble' would likely not include a quarantine period.
'People wouldn't travel if they had to stay on either side in quarantine for a two-week period and have to do the same when you return. But there is still a lot of work to be done before we can progress an idea like that,' she said.
A passenger wearing a facemask waits at Melbourne airport during the COVID-19 outbreak on April 21
Both countries have a COVID-19 mortality rate of just 1 per cent and have boosted their medical equipment reserves as they plan to slowly reopen their economies, including restarting travel across the Tasman sea.
New Zealand recorded its second day in a row of zero cases on Tuesday following a strict four-week lockdown, and just one new case on Wednesday.
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Last week, when the idea of the bubble was floated, Ms Ardern said she didn't want to move too quickly to reopen the borders.
She said she was not willing to jeopardise the position that New Zealand had got itself into by moving too soon.
Ahead of the meeting on Tuesday, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, said she was hopeful that a travel 'hub' could be formed between the two countries.
Jacinda Ardern (pictured on May 6) said both countries would need to be confident they would neither import or export cases before travel between the two countries is allowed
'We know that unfortunately international travel is a mid to long term vision, so if can establish a hub between New Zealand and Australia I think that would be a very positive move,' Berejiklian said.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,875
New South Wales: 3,042
Western Australia: 551
South Australia: 438
Australian Capital Territory: 107
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 6,875
'I'm hoping that we'll get to a stage where our state borders can be relaxed and then we can potentially have a phenomenal New Zealand and Australia cooperation which would allow us to pull our economic resources, pull our trade opportunities but also move together into the future.'
The move would give the tourism industry a much-needed boost as international tourism is likely to remain banned for many months. Both countries closed their borders to travellers in March as the coronavirus crisis escalated.
The move brought the travel industry to a crashing halt and saw thousands of workers with jobs.
Airlines have been struggling to stay afloat amid the pandemic.
Virgin Australia was the first to fold with the company going into voluntary administration two weeks ago owing almost $7 billion.
Qantas has recently secured funding to keep ensure the company survives until December 2021.
It is preparing to lose $40 million a week until the travel industry recovers.
An empty Melbourne airport is seen on April 21 (pictured), after a coronavirus travel ban was put in place across Australia
- Coronavirus crisis: National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission Nev Power reveals ‘travel bubble’ with Asia on agenda | The West Australian
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