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Australian PM pushes for quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand by Christmas

Scott Morrison wants quarantine-free international travel to New Zealand by Christmas, as part of a three-stage plan to get the nation to Covid-normal by the end of the year.



a close up of Scott Morrison wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

The prime minister outlined the plan at the national cabinet meeting on Friday, with a travel bubble potentially including other approved low-risk nations, and a trial, operating from early December, to allow seasonal workers and international students to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine outside of a supervised hotel setting.



a close up of Scott Morrison wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Prime minister Scott Morrison outlined plans to national cabinet to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand as well as approved low-risk nations


© Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Prime minister Scott Morrison outlined plans to national cabinet to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand as well as approved low-risk nations

Morrison also lobbied Victoria to accept international arrivals, as part of a push to increase the weekly cap on returned travellers to 6,000. The federal government has said it aims to have all 26,000 Australians registered to return home back in the country by Christmas.

The first repatriation flight from London landed in Darwin on Friday with 161 passengers who will quarantine at Howard Springs.

He said that, following discussions with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews in national cabinet, he was “hoping they will be able to make a move on being able to receive international arrivals”.

“That day isn’t here yet but I know it’s a priority for the premier because he wants to see Victorians come home,” he said.

Asked ahead of the national cabinet meeting if Victoria would be accepting international flights by Christmas, Andrews said that’s “certainly our aim” but not before the hotel quarantine inquiry had delivered its final report on 6 November.

Speaking at his daily press conference, the Victorian premier said an outbreak at a school in Melbourne’s northern suburbs would not delay a “significant” easing of restrictions from Sunday and he was “confident in where things are at the moment”.

Related: Victoria to conduct covert surveillance of businesses to ensure Covid compliance

As of Friday there were 800 people in Victoria under self-isolation orders as contacts and close contacts of coronavirus cases, including 400 people connected to the 83 families whose children attend East Preston Islamic school.

Authorities announced on Wednesday that a student had tested positive. A parent of another child who attends the school – but who did not have direct contact with the first student or their family – has also since tested positive.

It was the only new case recorded in Victoria on Friday. There are just five active cases in aged care and seven among healthcare workers.

Video: Premier Daniel Andrews treats Victorians as if they’re ‘dim witted’ (Sky News Australia)

Premier Daniel Andrews treats Victorians as if they’re ‘dim witted’

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Meanwhile, New South Wales reported no new locally acquired cases on Friday, but seven new cases in hotel quarantine.

Andrews said the school outbreak did not necessarily mean there was broader transmission in the school community.

“We are very well placed to make some significant announcements on Sunday

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Australia-New Zealand Travel Bubble Hits a Snag

(Bloomberg) —



a group of people walking down a street next to a building: A screen displays New South Wales Covid-19 safety protocols for people that have 'been in Victoria in the last 14 days' at a deserted Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Aug. 17, 2020. Sydney Airport plans to raise A$2 billion ($1.4 billion) selling shares to help weather the coronavirus crisis as travel restrictions slam the aviation industry.


© Bloomberg
A screen displays New South Wales Covid-19 safety protocols for people that have ‘been in Victoria in the last 14 days’ at a deserted Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Aug. 17, 2020. Sydney Airport plans to raise A$2 billion ($1.4 billion) selling shares to help weather the coronavirus crisis as travel restrictions slam the aviation industry.

The fledgling travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand hit an early snag after 17 passengers who flew into Sydney on Friday caught a connecting flight to Melbourne in an apparent breach of the rules.

In an effort to boost tourism, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government is encouraging visitors from New Zealand, which has crushed community transmission of Covid-19, and says they can enter the country without having to undergo hotel quarantine for 14 days. But the quarantine-free travel corridor only covers New South Wales state, which is home to Sydney, and the Northern Territory.

The 17 passengers flew on to Melbourne within minutes of arriving in Sydney, and Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews isn’t happy.

“We are not part of this bubble,” Andrews told reporters Saturday. “I have written to the prime minister this morning and we’re disappointed this has happened.” Authorities want to trace the passengers so they can be informed of local lockdown rules, he said.

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One-Way Flights to Australia Show Battle to Open Global Aviation

Morrison’s Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said it had been widely understood that anyone arriving in Sydney from New Zealand would be free to travel on to other states such as Victoria that had not closed their border to New South Wales. He accused Andrews, who is under pressure to ease a lockdown in Melbourne, of trying to create a distraction, the Australian newspaper reported.

Australia’s Virus Hotspot State Records Just One New Case

The limited travel corridor falls far short of the bubble initially envisaged by Morrison. New Zealand isn’t yet reciprocating, and says anyone returning from a trip to Australia must quarantine for 14 days on their return. Indeed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has urged New Zealanders to holiday at home instead.

(Updates with acting immigration minister’s comments in fifth paragraph)

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Vacations to Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands and more.

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