Australia and New Zealand are considering a 'travel bubble' between the two countries as they lift lockdown measures
- Australia and New Zealand are reportedly considering a travel agreement between them as they begin to lift their lockdown restrictions.
- New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement that officials in both countries are "considering all aspects of the trans-Tasman concept, and planning how this could happen more broadly," according to Reuters.
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussed the concept of a travel agreement with reporters in New Zealand on Monday, saying that it would offer "huge advantages" to both Australia and New Zealand.
- Ardern will join Australia's national cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss both countries' plans to reopen, according to The Guardian.
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Australia and New Zealand are reportedly considering a travel agreement between the two countries as they both begin to ease out of their tough coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement that the idea of a "travel bubble" between New Zealand and neighbouring Australia was floated two weeks ago as a potential way to slowly reopen borders.
"This is an example of the sort of action that could happen within it, while always ensuring the protection of public health," Peters said, according to Reuters. "Officials in both countries are considering all aspects of the trans-Tasman concept, and planning how this could happen more broadly," he added.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussed the concept of a "travel bubble" with reporters in New Zealand on Monday, saying that it would offer "huge advantages" to both Australia and New Zealand.
"There are significant advantages to New Zealand in terms of a trans-Tasman bubble not only [in terms of] domestic tourism, but equally we have a flow of people traveling between both countries, for business purposes, trade and so on," Ardern told reporters.
She added that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed that the plan would also create a "huge advantage" for Australia. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, she did not discuss a particular timeline for the plan but said that flights would not resume for the next few weeks.
Ardern will join Australia's national cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss both countries' plans to reopen, according to The Guardian.
"Both our countries' strong record on fighting the virus has placed us in the enviable position of being able to plan the next stage in our economic rebuild and to include trans-Tasman travel and engagement in our strategy," she said on Monday.
Both Australia and New Zealand have been praised for their quick actions to slow the coronavirus spread, which has contributed to low numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths compared to other major industrialised nations. Experts say that early national lockdown efforts, good public adherence to the rules, and widespread testing capabilities may have prevented Australia and New Zealand from being overwhelmed with a wave of infections, similar to what is being seen in hard-hit countries like Italy and the United States.
As of Monday local time, Australia has reported just over 6,800 cases and 96 deaths, while New Zealand has reported 1,487 cases and 20 deaths.
Monday also marked no new coronavirus cases in New Zealand for the first time since lockdown measures were put in place, a promising sign that the country's actions have stemmed the spread of the virus within its borders. In contrast, Australia reported 26 new cases on Monday, the country's biggest jump in two weeks.
Last week, New Zealand lowered its lockdown level from a four to a three, allowing schools and certain businesses to begin to reopen. Some Australian states, including New South Wales and Queensland, have also begun to relax their restrictions this week, and Morrison said last week that pubs may reopen if enough people download the government's coronavirus tracing app.
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