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Australia and New Zealand considering a “travel bubble” between the two countries

Tuesday, May 5th 2020 - 06:41 UTC
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Jacinda Ardern will take part in a meeting of Australia's emergency coronavirus Cabinet Jacinda Ardern will take part in a meeting of Australia's emergency coronavirus Cabinet

New Zealand and Australia are discussing the potential creation of a “travel bubble” between the two countries, sources said on Monday, even as Australia reported its highest number of coronavirus cases in two weeks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will take part in a meeting of Australia's emergency coronavirus Cabinet on Tuesday, the Australian government said, stoking speculation that two-way travel could be permitted in the near future.

“The idea of a bubble with Australia was floated two weeks ago, and this is an example of the sort of action that could happen within it, while always ensuring the protection of public health,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.

“Officials in both countries are considering all aspects of the trans-Tasman concept, and planning how this could happen more broadly,” Peters added.

The prospect of two-way travel was first proposed by Peters, though Ardern in April insisted it was a “long-term goal” and would need to include other Pacific countries.

Australia and New Zealand have both slowed the spread of coronavirus in recent weeks to levels significantly below the those reported in the United States, Britain and Europe.

Both governments attribute their success to social distancing restrictions and widespread testing.

However, Australia on Monday reported 26 new cases, including a seven-year-old boy, its biggest daily jump in two weeks. That could rise as more states report throughout the day.

New Zealand recorded no new cases on Monday for the first time since March 16.

Overall, Australia has recorded around 6,800 infections and 95 deaths, and New Zealand 1,137 cases and 20 fatalities.

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