The New Zealand government intends to set up a travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday.
This arrangement would allow people to travel freely between Australia and New Zealand without the need for quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Travelers arriving from New Zealand have already been exempted from quarantine requirements in Australia.
The travel bubble was “pending confirmation” from Australian authorities, Ms Ardern said during a press conference, and would be contingent on “no significant change in the circumstances of any country”.
According to a database in the New York Times, New Zealand has a population of about five million, which has managed to survive the epidemic with 2,096 cases and 25 lives. In Australia, with a population of about 25.5 million, 28,031 people have tested positive for coronovirus, while 908 have died.
The governments of New Zealand and Australia announced in May that they had reached a formal agreement to create a travel bubble as soon as it was safe to do so. But the rise in new cases, particularly in Victoria, Australia, left the plans suspended.
Here’s what else to know in Coronavirus news around the world:
Officer in South Korea Schools in the Seoul metropolitan area have ordered all classes to be moved online starting at least by the end of the year on Tuesday. Additional measures could be announced this week as the country struggles to prevent its worst outbreak yet. South Korea, which has a population of about 50 million, reported 718 new cases on Monday, down from 1,030 records a day earlier.
Japan Coronovirus is also struggling with speed and will insist on a nationwide campaign to encourage travel and tourism. With hospitals recently under increasing pressure from new infections, a steady increase in the program, called “Go to Travel”, will stop from December 28 to at least January 11. Covering the calendar’s most important holiday, the start of the new year, when many people go home. The program provided substantial leeway to encourage consumers to support the country’s troubled tourism and service sectors.
Netherlands The lock will be put in place for at least five weeks to limit the spread of the virus, the Prime Minister announced in a national address. The measure has schools, gyms, non-essential businesses, theaters and more closed until 19 January. Medical offices will be allowed to remain open.
Singapore On Monday, it became the first Asian country to approve a coronovirus vaccine made by American drugmaker Pfizer, which announced that the first shipment would arrive this month and would be given free to Singaporeans and long-term residents. Singapore has also agreed to purchase the vaccine from American drug maker Modern and Chinese company Synovac. “If all goes according to plan, we will have enough vaccines for all in Singapore by the third quarter of 2021,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an address to the nation.
Officer in Germany The public urged them not to go to the shops to end Christmas shopping this week, but those selling finished goods were closed amid the closing on Wednesday. Germany announced stringent measures on Sunday, partly after weeks of lockdown, which keep both schools and shops open but failed to adequately deal with the increasing number of new coronovirus cases.
Austria Sunday wrapped up its first nationwide mass coronovirus trial, replacing about 4,200 apparently symptomatic infections. Less than a quarter of the nation attended the free screening, which was available to anyone over 6 years of age who had not been ill in the past three months. Austrian Health Minister, Rudy Anskeber, called it “not only a good start, but a successful step in dealing with the epidemic in Austria”.
The European Union On Monday, a mobile app aimed at facilitating safe travel between its 27 member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, belongs to the Schengen zone of the block. The app, called Re-open EU, aims to help Europe’s residents meet various national restrictions as well as quarantine and testing requirements, and was introduced before the busy holiday season.
Jennifer jet, Ben dole And Monika Pronchuk Contributed to reporting.