Low and reducing rates of COVID-19 cases in Australia and New Zealand have prompted suggestions that travel between the two nations may resume sooner rather than later.
New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has suggested that if both countries continue to be successful in slowing the spread, their borders may reopen before the rest of the world.
“Our figures with Australia, it’s almost as if we’ve got a trans-Tasman bubble between our two countries, and if the figures keep on going that way, then that is a serious possibility,” Mr Peters said.
A relaxing of border controls will be considered only if the health and safety of both populations is guaranteed, Minister Peters added.
“We are very, very mindful that any travel between our countries cannot imperil the safety and health and the good of the local people,” Mr Peters said.
The Minister also suggested that Australia and New Zealand can continue to work together to help prevent the spread in the region.
“We can help each other, and whether talking about tracking or tracing or localised lockdowns, or whether we’re talking (when) ongoing testing will stop, we can share information and perhaps together, do even better than we are doing now,” Mr Peters said.
Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said he isn’t actively considering Minister Peters request, but confirmed Australia will continue to work closely with New Zealand on this issue.
“We are aware of their interest in that, it has not got much beyond that,” Mr Morrison said.
“So we are aware of that, but we are not at present contemplating any border changes at the moment. We will work closely with New Zealand, we have all along.”