COVID-19: The Picture Down Under

While Australia and New Zealand are relatively isolated geographically, the impact from COVID-19 has still been intense. Reporting from Perth, Chris Frame explains how the nations are responding to the pandemic.

The new normal? Empty check-in desks are commonplace across the region following the COVID-19 outbreak.

AIRLINES ACROSS Australia and New Zealand are reeling from the impact of COVID-19. In recent weeks, both nations imposed never-before-seen travel restrictions, putting massive pressure on the local aviation sector. When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be “a public health emergency of international concern” at the end of January, the Australian government moved to reduce exposure to the outbreak, which at the time was concentrated in China. Travel advisories were raised stating ‘do not travel’, with both Australia and New Zealand enacting strict border controls, denying entry to travellers arriving or transiting from mainland China. The change immediately hit the tourism industry. China has represented the highest proportion of international visitors to Australia in recent years, while in New Zealand they are second only to Australian holidaymakers.

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