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'Won't be good': PM's ominous warning on opening border

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read

Scott Morrison has warned any further restrictions to contain an outbreak of Covid-19 in Australia will not be good for either the economy or jobs.

The prime minister met with state premiers on Monday to get Australia's derailed vaccination program back on track, while looking at ways to open up international borders, albeit further down the track.

"We can't get ahead of ourselves here ... the thing we need to be very clear about is the pandemic is raging globally," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

"If there are further lockdowns ... because of the introduction of Covid into Australia, then that won't be good for the economy, it won't be good for jobs."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media in Sydney.
Scott Morrison says Australia would pay a heavy price for opening borders too early. Source: AAP

Quarantine-free travel returns between Australia and New Zealand

The warning has come as Australia and New Zealand restarted quarantine-free travel.

Travellers from Australia no longer have to isolate after crossing the Tasman for the first time in more than a year, with the first flight departing Sydney on Monday morning.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is excited the travel bubble occurred before Anzac Day.

"The Tasman is open," he told reporters in Sydney.

"It's a win-win for Australia and New Zealand and I think this is going to be very important for the tourism and travel industry ... as well the very practical issues of families being able to reconnect.

"There are so many connections between ourselves and our Kiwi cousins."

Two women embrace. Source: AAP
There have been emotional scenes as Australians touched down in New Zealand. Source: AAP

Kiwi arrivals to Australia have been able to travel without quarantine for about six months.

All people residing in Australia or New Zealand, including foreign nationals, can use quarantine-free travel, as long as they meet the health, immigration and border clearance requirements in each country.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she imagined the airport to look like a scene from the movie Love Actually.

"It is truly exciting to start quarantine-free travel with Australia," she told reporters.

"Be it returning family, friends or holiday makers, New Zealand says: 'Welcome and enjoy yourself'."

Deputy PM says Pacific island nations likely candidates for bubbles

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Singapore and Pacific island nations were likely to be the next countries to sign up to similar arrangements.

"We want to make sure that we get international travel back to some sort of normality," he told the ABC.

Family members embrace next to sign which says 'We've missed you'. Source: AAP
Australia and New Zealand has reopened borders for quarantine-free travel. Source: AAP

Mr McCormack, who is the federal transport minister, said vaccine rollouts in Australia and other countries would be critical to allowing overseas travel.

"It's so important that we get Australians to able to travel and people to be able to come here and spend their dollars and have a good time," he said.

He stressed medical advice would be paramount in creating any new travel bubbles with discussions in preliminary stages.

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