Australia Australia-NZ bubble start to be revealed
Palau president visits Taiwan to open travel bubble
Palau's leader flew into Taiwan on Sunday as the two coronavirus-free allies prepare to launch a travel corridor and boost their pandemic-hit tourist sectors. The travel bubble is partly due to Palau's special relationship with Taiwan. It is one of only 15 nations worldwide to offer Taipei diplomatic recognition in the face of China's long-standing claim that Taiwan is part of its territory. Whipps said strict measures would be enforced to protect Palau's 18,000-strong population.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to reveal the start date for quarantine-free travel for Australians to Aotearoa.
Ms Ardern's cabinet will meet to sign off a plan to create the trans-Tasman bubble on Tuesday morning, before a 4pm local time (2pm AEST) announcement.
Australian and New Zealand borders have been shut to almost all non-citizens since March last year, with both countries requiring arrivals to spend a fortnight in quarantine before entering the community.
Ardern to reveal bubble opening on Tuesday
Thousands of separated families either side of the Tasman Sea await New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's bubble announcement on Tuesday.On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cabinet is expected to sign off on an opening date for quarantine-free travel from Australia.
Success in fighting the virus has prompted calls for the two allies to re-open their borders to each other.
Australian states began scrapping their restrictions last October, but to date New Zealand is yet to do so.
Kiwis have been fearful of a return of the deadly virus to their country, but University of Auckland professor Shaun Hendy said the re-opening was worth the risk.
"It's not greatly increasing the risk to New Zealand... and it will be good for many people with family in Australia," he told Radio NZ.
"We are going to have to make these small incremental risks.
"We do want to get something like normal life back over the next year."
Families separated by the Tasman Sea have been among the loudest voices calling for a resumption of normal travel.
Australia and New Zealand to sign off on quarantine-free travel bubble
The trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand could reopen within a week as both countries continue to enjoy low coronavirus cases. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to announce the start date of the bubble today, which will allow travellers to fly without needing to quarantine.The first flights are expected to start on April 12 or April 19, according to federal government and industry sources who spoke to The Australian.Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry tourism chief John Hart told the publication 'the 19th was pretty much definite'.
Tourism-related industries and businesses are also desperate for travel to resume.
"We're all looking forward to hearing what the New Zealand government has to announce," Auckland Airport executive Scott Tasker told AAP.
Mr Tasker was one of 40 representatives - including airports, airlines and government officials - in the Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group which last June put together a logistical plan for the aviation system to re-open.
"It was to really provide a blueprint to both governments on how how trans-Tasman quarantine free table could could function," he said.
While Australia picked up the report and put it into action, New Zealand left it on the shelf.
"Australia determined it was safe to consider opening inbound travel to New Zealand last October," he said.
"It's pleasing to see that the New Zealand government now obviously do see that conditions are conducive to some serious thinking about the possibility of opening."
In any re-opening scenario, borders would be closed temporarily in the case of new outbreaks.
New local coronavirus case in New Zealand days after bubble announced .
New Zealand has recorded a new positive COVID-19 case in a 24-year-old border worker at one of the country's hotels.The country's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed the man, 24, had not yet been vaccinated and travels to work in a private car with a colleague.