Coronavirus-safe travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand unlikely in immediate term

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hosed down the likelihood of a sudden opening of the Australian border to New Zealanders, insisting the initial focus is on reopening state borders.

National Cabinet has met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to consider a trans-Tasman travel bubble as part of broader efforts to reopen the Australian economy.

Mr Morrison said a “safe travel zone” with New Zealand had been discussed in recent weeks but it was “some time away”.

He said he expected New Zealand would be the first country Australia would open its borders to.

National Cabinet will meet again on Friday, when it is expected to ease some of the coronavirus-induced restrictions across Australia.

Mr Morrison and Ms Ardern issued a joint statement after National Cabinet, in which the leaders committed to establishing a travel zone “as soon as it is safe to do so”.

“A trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone would be mutually beneficial, assisting our trade and economic recovery, helping kick-start the tourism and transport sectors, enhancing sporting contacts, and reuniting families and friends,” the statement reads.

“We need to be cautious as we progress this initiative.

“Neither country wants to see the virus rebound so it’s essential any such travel zone is safe.”

More to come.

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