Australia is to grant New Zealanders to enter its borders from 16 October onwards. In fact, this will be the first opening of international borders in the nation since Covid-19 restrictions were imposed.
People will only be able to fly from New Zealand to ‘travel zone’ in Australia. The ‘travel zone’ includes two Australian regions, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Arrivals from New Zealand do not have to undergo a two-week mandatory quarantine.
However, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said those who travel to Australia would have to quarantine on their return.
Why is Australia opening its borders?
In March, Australia closed its borders to stop the spread of Covid-19. Thus, citizens and permanent residents were not allowed to leave the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said that Australia intended to revive its economy as coronavirus cases were slowing down.
To help the economy, Australia’s federal government has encouraged domestic and international borders to re-open. But some state governments which hold power over their own borders have been more resistant towards the idea.
Australia’s economy shrank seven per cent in the three months ended June. It is the most since records began in 1959, as virus curbs paralysed business activity.
According to the Australian Tourism 2020 data, New Zealand is Australia’s largest market for visitor arrivals due to the pandemic. The provided data has surpassed China as the largest market for visitor arrivals in Australia.
Is it safe?
The opening of Australia’s borders is safe enough to justify a “travel bubble”, according to officials.
McCormack told reporters in Canberra, “This is the first stage in what we hope to see as a trans-Tasman bubble between the two countries, stopping not just at the state and that territory.”
Besides, he said that New Zealand currently had no “hotspots”. Therefore, New Zealand visitors posed as a “low risk of Covid-19 transmission.
He added, “Australia defines a hotspot as any area with at least three local infections per day across a three-day rolling average.”
According to the authorities, daily new coronavirus cases in Victoria, Australia’s hotspot have fallen to a near four-month low.
There are no any recorded infections in Australia’s Northern Territory in two months.
Most importantly, New South Wales including Sydney has not seen a locally transmitted case since last week.
Will Australians be able to travel to New Zealand?
McCormack said that the decision would be up entirely on New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Following that, Ardern said that New Zealand would not open its borders to Australians for now.
Australia has recorded over 27,000 cases with 888 deaths. Meanwhile, New Zealand has recorded 1848 cases with 25 deaths.
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