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The Coalition is “very attracted” to the idea of eventually adding Pacific countries to the trans-Tasman bubble – an exclusive travel route expected to be forged in the coming months with New Zealand –says Australian International Development Minister Alex Hawke says.
Hawke said Pacific countries have taken strict bio-measures to prevent COVID-19 from infecting them, but the economic cost of the pandemic will lead to a “difficult” road ahead for the travel-reliant nations.
“As a consequence of taking the very important decision not to get COVID into fragile health systems … the economic situation in many of our neighbouring countries is going to be quite difficult in coming times,” Hawke told Sky News.
“In some countries, you’ve got 28-day quarantine restrictions, in others, you’ve got complete travel bans with economies wholly reliant on tourism; tourism can be 50 per cent of the GDP of a Pacific island country.
“Even when countries are quite keen to do it with us, we’re also quite sensitive to the fact COVID has been in Australia and New Zealand.
“We don’t want to be infecting Pacific countries,” he said.
SOURCE: SKY NEWS/PACNEWS
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