Australia in Talks with Japan, S. Korea on Reopening Travel

Clay Curtis
October 15, 2020

Other states that could follow suit are Japan, Singapore, South Korea and other Pacific Island states.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday that his government has been making efforts to extend the country's travel bubble to countries including Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

"However, the prospects of opening up widespread travel with higher risk countries will remain very reliant on effective vaccination or other major breakthroughs in the management of COVID", Senator Birmingham said.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham revealed travel for Australians could be reopened with New Zealand by the end of 2021.

Kiwis will be able to fly across the ditch to the Northern Territory or New South Wales without having to quarantine.

Japan and Vietnam will allow short-term business travel with each other, the Yomiuri daily said on Saturday. "It's still there, and it is no less aggressive today than it was six months ago".

It came shortly after Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham hinted that travel to higher-risk destinations such as Europe and the U.S. would be off the cards next year if there wasn't a breakthrough on a vaccine.

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It comes as a number of European countries experienced a huge spike in coronavirus cases, dashing hopes of a travel bubble with Australia.

His comments came as Australia grimly edges towards 900 Covid-19 related deaths after Victoria added to its toll and Premier Daniel Andrews extended his state of emergency and state of disaster by another four weeks to November 8.

"We are beginning to open up to New Zealand due to their similarly strong COVID outcomes and it may be possible to do likewise with other low risk nations".

Meanwhile, France marked a record day of over 20,000 new infections, while Germany reporting daily tallies of more than 4,000 new patients might also be heading to reinstating further restrictions.

Asked about the report, immigration official Seiji Matano said that no decision had been made, but that the government would consider how to reopen traffic in a way that prevents infection. As of Friday, the state had reached 28 days without community transmission.

The federal Government expects every state border to be open by Christmas, except for Western Australia, which it believes will keep its borders closed until after its state election on March 31, 2021.

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