Travel between Australia and other countries could resume this year, with experts predicting coronavirus may be treated like a simple cold.
Infectious disease expert, Professor Robert Booy, told Today he believes more travel bubbles will open between Australia and other countries in the coming months.
“I think we’ll have bubbles before then,” Professor Booy told Today, in response to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg indicating international borders will reopen next year.
“We have New Zealand, we’ll have many more Pacific islands – we’ll have more places, perhaps in Asia as they totally clamp down and have high vaccination rates as well.
He said one country after the other would say yes if all agreed they had good control of the virus.
“We’ll get to a point where this virus is more like a cold – that too will help us open up,” he said.
Eleven flights are scheduled to depart Sydney for New Zealand today, after the trans-Tasman bubble reopened at midnight.
While the news is welcomed by NSW residents eager to see family or holiday in New Zealand after lockdown, there is a catch.
The travel bubble is still not available to anyone who visited one of the recent NSW exposure sites.
Anyone who has potentially been exposed to the virus as a close or casual contact attached to one of those locations will be turned away at the border.
Since the two positive NSW cases were identified last week, no new local cases have been identified, giving authorities hope they have the situation under control.
Restrictions for NSW have also been eased, with masks no longer required in public indoor locations.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand would monitor the situation “very closely”.
“We’ll continue to monitor it, and obviously we’ll make decisions where we need to,” Mr Hipkins said.