Asia Minute: Delayed Air Bubble?

Jun 18, 2020

This week the state lifted quarantine restrictions on inter-island travel. Government officials are still looking at what will be needed to resume limited trans-Pacific travel. But the timing of travel from at least one Asia Pacific destination may be delayed.

Australia’s Tourism Minister says his country’s borders may remain closed to most outsiders for the rest of this year.

There will be exceptions, some international students will be allowed back in the country next month, and some business travel may be cleared – depending on what coronavirus conditions are like in the travelers’ home countries.

And then there is the continuing plan for what’s being called a “travel bubble” or “travel corridor” with other locations that also have relatively low numbers of cases of COVID-19 — in a process that would include testing rather than mandatory quarantine.

Australia’s first partner in that arrangement is still likely to be New Zealand — although the timing on that may have slipped, with some new cases in both countries.

New Zealand has now reported a total of three new cases this week. One remains in quarantine, while officials are blaming a “lapse in process” in the case of two sisters visiting from the U.K. who were released from isolation to see a dying parent.

Positive cases in Victoria State in Australia have also been on the rise over the past couple of days – the highest number in more than a month.

Governor David Ige has mentioned both Australia and New Zealand as well as Japan as among the places Hawaii might reach agreement with in a travel corridor.