Australian PM has hinted at trans-Tasman flights between Covid-free areas of Australia and New Zealand.

Scott Morrison said almost 4000 Australians were returning home every week, but many more were still trying to do so.

“Further support has been provided to assist those Australians, particularly in hardship overseas … as part of that approach I spoke to Prime Minister Ardern this morning and what I advised her was that Australia will be looking to apply the same hotspot approach to New Zealand.

“That means when we’re in a position to do so, and when the acting chief medical officer has come to a set of arrangements with New Zealand, then we would be able to have New Zealanders come to Australia.

“That doesn’t mean Australians can go to New Zealand, that’s a matter for Prime Minister Ardern, but if there’s no Covid in Christchurch, and there’s no Covid in Queensland, then there’s no reason both of them can’t come to Sydney.

“That will mean, I think, an important boost for our tourist economy, whether it’s in New South Wales or anywhere else.”

He spoke about allowing visiting New Zealanders to enter without having to go into isolation or quarantine.

“The idea that New Zealanders would not have to go into quarantine because they’re coming from Covid-free areas would also free up places in quarantine. Equally, if states aren’t requiring Australians coming from areas where there is no Covid cases, like the ACT, and that they don’t have to go into hotel quarantine in places, well, that obviously frees up more capacity as well.”

He said seven out of eight states and territories had agreed to the “hotspot” plan, which would reduce the need for hard borders between the states.

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