Scott Morrison Hopes A COVID-Safe Travel Bubble Could Also Include Japan & Pacific Nations

scott morrison ACA

Prime Minister Scott Morrison remains hopeful that we could see a trans-Tasman travel bubble before the end of the year, despite rising coronavirus cases across Victoria and New South Wales.

In an interview with Tracey Grimshaw for A Current Affair, Morrison discussed everything from the huge budget deficit to the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine never being found. And surprisingly, his plan to run the country in a “COVID-safe way” still includes (some) international travel.

Speaking in hypothetical terms should a coronavirus vaccine not become available, Grimshaw grilled the PM on whether the plan was just to “never go overseas again” and “never reopen our international borders.”

“I would hope, and expect, that before the end of the year New Zealand and Australia would be able to agree a safe travel zone between Australia and New Zealand,” he said, explaining that he had a discussion about a potential travel bubble as recently as last week with Jacinda Ardern.

“We are progressing that. There are many Pacific nations, equally, that want to be able to be a part of that. The discussions I had with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they’re keen to see more safe travel, so we will adjust and we *can* adjust.”

Although he said “the opportunity for large scale travel beyond our borders is not foreseeable right now,” he remained adamant that New Zealand, some Pacific nations and even Japan could be included in a COVID-safe travel bubble.

Obviously, its not the same as having free reign to galavant across the globe however you want to, but if Morrison’s comments tonight are to be believed, we could at least have the opportunity to yeet ourselves off to some tropical getaways, relax in some Japanese hot springs or nerd out in Hobbiton at some point in the next 12 months. It’s probably not worth renewing your passport just yet, but it’s a nice (potential) silver lining if we all mask up and do the right thing right now.

Morrison’s comments come after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said last month that the reopening borders would be left up to Australia’s leaders.

“Ultimately it’s up to Australia to decide whether or not they’ll go for a whole of country approach, or a state-by-state approach,” Ardern said. “Obviously where there is community outbreak that is a no-go for New Zealand.”

“Where they have border controls in place and where they’ve had no community transmissions for sustained periods of time that may be a different scenario.”

Throughout the interview, Morrison urged Australians to remain positive and continue to “look up”, rather than focussing on the probability that completely free international travel will likely be off the cards for the foreseeable future.

You can watch the full interview on 9Now here.