Australian authorities have reported on Thursday that they plan to maintain the closure of the borders due to the coronavirus for months, but have indicated that they are studying the possibility of allowing travel to and from New Zealand in an attempt to oxygenate the tourism sector. .
The government’s plan aims to reopen a market of millions of possible tourists and allow transfers for work reasons between the two countries. As Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated, the two countries follow «similar trajectories» in dealing with the Covid-19.
«If there is any country in the world with which we can reconnect first, it is undoubtedly New Zealand,» Morrison said, noting that he recently addressed the issue with his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern.
The initiative has been well received by industry leaders, who have assured that these trips would allow the tourism industry to recover little by little. New Zealand is one of the main sources of tourism in Australia – only China is ahead.
In 2018, 1.8 New Zealanders traveled to Australia, where they left some 2.6 billion dollars, according to information from the local newspaper ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’.
Morrison, who has said he will brief Australians on Friday about the decisions made, said Australia «is on the way back to a safe economy.»
The prime minister has given four weeks, until mid-May, to analyze the levels of transmission of the virus before lifting any kind of restriction.
Australia has currently registered 6,547 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 67 deaths, while in New Zealand 1,451 are infected and 16 are deceased.