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Australia, New Zealand consider 'trans-Tasman bubble'

May 5, 2020

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended Australia’s cabinet meeting on coronavirus, where both the nations discussed opening travel and economic ties.

The Australian (R) and New Zealand flags fly during the dedication of the Australia ANZAC memorial
Image: Getty Images/AFP/M. Melville

Neighboring countries Australia and New Zealand are planning to open up their borders for a "trans-Tasman travel bubble,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Tuesday. 

Ardern was addressing a press conference after attending the Australian cabinet meeting on the coronavirus via video call. She had been invited by Australian PM Scott Morrison for the meeting, to discuss ways that both countries could work together.

Read more: Will warmer weather stop the spread of the coronavirus?

The nations had shut their borders for travel in March, to control the virus. This had negatively impacted their respective tourism industries. Now, as the spread of the pandemic seems to be under control, their leaders are looking to end the restrictions.  

"We both stand to benefit from getting travel up and running again. Families and friendships span the Tasman," she told reporters, emphasizing that safety would be a priority for both nations.  

Read more: Australia's slow reaction to the coronavirus crisis

While the countries are considering opening up trans-Tasman links, opening up international travel is still a long way ahead. 

New Zealand reported its second day with no new cases of Covid-19 over a 24-hour period. The country has seen 1,486 cases, with 20 deaths. Australia has had around 6,800 cases, with 96 deaths. Both countries have had a mortality rate of just 1%, and have increased medical equipment reserves.   

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tg/rc (dpa, Reuters)