With a two-way trans-Tasman travel ‘bubble’ off the cards for the foreseeable future, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed a few new candidates for an expanded ‘bubble’.
During a press conference earlier this month, Australia’s PM said the government is holding exploratory discussions about the potential for international travel to Taiwan and some provinces of China, as well as the previously announced potential with South Korea, Japan, Singapore and the Pacific Islands.
“There are countries that are doing obviously far better than what we are seeing of course in Europe and the United States,” he told reporters.
“You know, [we] are looking at what alternative arrangements could be had to channel visitors through appropriate quarantine arrangements for low-risk countries.”
However, Morrison said no decisions should be expected within the next few months and stressed the government would proceed with “caution”.
South Australia’s scare last week prompted New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to demolish any hopes of a two-way travel ‘bubble’ happening by Christmas, despite Australia’s Minister for Tourism, Simon Birmingham, advising Aussies could be heading to New Zealand by the end of the year.
Australia’s Tourism Minister made the comments just days before Australia opened select borders to New Zealanders, quarantine-free, on Friday 16 October.
Ardern said she didn’t “have the necessary protections” to open New Zealand’s border to Aussies anytime soon, and argued that Australia’s higher tolerance of COVID-19 community transmission was “problematic”, pointing to the recent outbreak in South Australia.
Early last month, Morrison said that next in line for travel ‘bubbles’ after New Zealand is likely to be Pacific Island nations, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.