Countries Australia could open up to first

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced international borders will be discussed on Friday at National Cabinet.

Mr Morrison said that while a decision on the reopening of the borders will not be made, he intends to make a “further assessment” of where things are at the meeting.

Speaking from Canberra, Mr Morrison said countries likely to form a travel bubble with Australia include a mutual corridor over the ditch with New Zealand, as well as Japan and parts of North Asia.

“We continue to hold these discussions with countries like Japan, we have had them before with Korea, specific nations of course, New Zealand has already been opened for travel into Australia without quarantine arrangements,” he said.

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International borders will be a hot topic at National Cabinet on Friday.Source:Getty Images

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“I think we proceed cautiously. There are countries that are doing far better than what we are seeing in Europe and the United States.

“The situation in Europe and the United States is awful. And obviously that presents great risks for people coming in from those parts of the world to Australia, but out of many parts of Asia, particularly in North Asia, places like Taiwan and I would also say provinces of China, Singapore, we, you know, are looking at what alternative arrangements could be hard to channel visitors through appropriate quarantine arrangements for low risk countries.

“That is a process other countries are doing as well. We are open to that. We have not come to a point of decision on that.”

Last month, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline will be putting flights to the US and the UK on the backburner until at least the end of 2021, instead focusing on new routes and potential overseas ‘travel bubbles’ that could emerge early next year.

The opening of Australia’s international borders will be a hot topic during Friday’s National Cabinet. Picture: PETER PARKS / AFP.Source:AFP

Speaking at the airline’s annual general meeting on Friday, Mr Joyce and chairman Richard Goyder said they had hopes of launching new routes in Asia and the Pacific, including to destinations such as Taiwan and South Korea.

“Both Qantas and Jetstar are keeping a close eye on new markets that might open up as a result of these bubbles — including places that weren’t part of our pre-COVID network,” Mr Goyder said during October’s AGM in Sydney.

“By early next year, we may find that Korea, Taiwan and various islands in the Pacific are top Qantas destinations while we wait for our core international markets like the US and UK to re-open.”

Mr Joyce said he hoped COVID travel bubbles could open in early 2021, giving Australians new travel opportunities when the international borders reopen and before a vaccine is released.

KPMG economists put the price of the country’s hard external border at $117 billion if it were to continue on for a decade. in addition, according to the August research, the ongoing closure would cost each Australian the equivalent of $2,800 and would shave 1.1 million people from Australia’s 2030 population.

Australia’s international borders closed in March, with Health Minister Greg Hunt announcing the ‘biosecurity emergency period’ which enables the Federal Government to place restrictions on overseas flights and cruise ships, to stick around until at least December 2021.

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