First countries in the bubble

Aussie travellers could be flying to several Asian nations soon, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison puts international travel back on the national cabinet agenda this week.

After several days without any locally transmitted virus across the country, the Prime Minister is keen to push on with bubble discussions.

Japan, Singapore and Korea are likely to be the lowest hanging fruit, says a New Daily report.

“We continue to hold these discussions with countries like Japan; we have had them before with Korea, specific nations. Of course, New Zealand has already been opened for travel into Australia without quarantine arrangements,” he said.

Victoria may have put the handbrake on travel bubble conversations with New Zealand and other countries, but after almost a fortnight with no new cases, the state is opening up to domestic travellers and visitors from New Zealand.

Still, other east coast states are seeing minor outbreaks and new cases, so caution is still being advised.

And there’s no rush to allow travellers from COVID-ravaged nations into Australia, says the PM.

“I think we proceed cautiously. There are countries that are doing far better than what we are seeing in Europe and the US,” said Mr Morrison.

“The situation in Europe and the US is awful. And obviously that presents great risks for people coming in from those parts of the world to Australia.

“But out of many parts of Asia, particularly in North Asia – places like Taiwan and … provinces of China, Singapore – we are looking at what alternative arrangements could be had to channel visitors through appropriate quarantine arrangements for low-risk countries.

“That is a process other countries are doing as well. We are open to that. We have not come to a point of decision on that.”

Locally, Melbourne will begin admitting flights from New Zealand on Monday. Victorian residents now have the run of the state, after the 25km ban was lifted last week.

Tasmania will join the NZ bubble from early 2021 and has opened its borders – quarantine-free – to residents from NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The Apple Isle should open to Victorians from 1 December.

Queensland is open to most other states in Australia, except Victoria and anyone from greater Sydney. Victorians may be able to travel there from early December, says chief health officer Jeannette Young.

“I’m sure they’re starting to feel there’s a good chance they’ve eliminated the virus in Melbourne, which is really, really exciting,” said Dr Young.

“Hopefully we will be able to open borders to Melbourne and not require any form of quarantine.”

Are you tired of bubble updates? Or are you waiting with bated breath for one to open so you can get there?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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