Australia Overseas Travel Could Recommence By July 1

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Passengers, all but one wearing masks, board an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 3, 2020
Passengers, all but one wearing masks, board an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 3, 2020 AFP / Eleonore SENS

A big step towards normalcy. Australians may start traveling internationally by July 1, according to a timetable proposed by a tourism body. 

On Friday, the Tourism Restart Taskforce submitted a proposed timetable for domestic and international travel that will see Australians be able to visit New Zealand within the next five weeks. The group was established to advise the government on a travel strategy post COVID-19. 

According to John Hart, the chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the country is ready to accept visitors from NZ in what is called a travel bubble. However, all these plans are “aspirational” and will still be dependent on the COVID-19 situation in Australia by that time. 

“From our point of view, July 1 is possible … We can be ready by then for New Zealand visitors,” Hart told News.com.au.

“We want to put that marker down of July 1, so if industry is called on as part of a bubble we will be ready … but this can only happen if health advice can happen and government restrictions can happen. So there’s a lot of things to go right for the bubble to happen.”

Hart also clarified the proposal has yet to be approved by government officials, including Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham.

If signed off, the travel bubble will allow passengers to fly to and from New Zealand without undergoing quarantine upon arrival. 

“We would need approval from border force and a health protocol established between two countries,” Hart explained to the Daily Mail. It is not yet confirmed whether additional countries will be included in the travel bubble. 

Both Australia and New Zealand have successfully slowed down the spread of the coronavirus in their countries. Compared to the United States and other European countries, these two have handled the pandemic outbreak well.

As of May 27, 6:50 p.m. AEST, Australia has 7,139 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 103 deaths. New Zealand only has 1,504 cases and 21 deaths, Worldometer data reveals. 

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