Published on Monday, October 12, 2020

US, Europe travel could be off-limits to Australians until late 2021

Australia has started talks with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and some Pacific nations over forming international travel bubbles.

However, long haul travel to Europe and the US looks doubtful for at least another year, the federal government said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken about resuming some form of cross-border travel with the Asian nations and to the South Pacific, but won't rush into agreeing travel bubbles.

"We have to go cautiously on this - very, very cautiously. Covid-19 hasn't gone anywhere. It's still there. And it is no less aggressive today than it was six months ago," the PM said.

"There are a number of countries that have performed well on the health front, and Australia and those countries are one of a handful of countries that have had the same level of success."

A one-way travel bubble with New Zealand is due to begin later this week.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said quarantine-free travel to 'low risk' countries such as New Zealand may be possible by the end of the year, but the availability of a vaccine will determine when trips to the US, Europe and other countries could happen.

"We are beginning to open up to New Zealand because of their similarly strong Covid outcomes and it may be possible to do likewise with other low risk nations," Birmingham said.

"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."

Government officials expect that will be at least late 2021 at the earliest before widespread vaccinations are completed.


Written by Ray Montgomery, Asia Editor

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