Australians are being teased with the prospect of international travel, although it could still be some time before the nation’s coronavirus-prompted border closure is lifted.
Singapore is allowing Australian travellers – except for Victorians – into the city-state from October 8, subject to a COVID-19 test upon arrival.
But Australians are not allowed to travel overseas without an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs, and would still have to foot the bill for 14 days of hotel quarantine after returning.
Singapore has spoken with the federal government about the changes, in the hopes the travel can be two-way.
A travel bubble with New Zealand is also on the cards, but it will initially only allow Kiwis to fly across the Tasman.
“We’ll be able to move on that very soon,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 5AA radio on Thursday.
“New Zealanders being able to travel to Australia – that’s good for Australian tourism.”
The prospect of Australians travelling to New Zealand is further away.
As Australia prepares for summer amid the coronavirus pandemic, authorities are working to alleviate season-specific concerns.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd says virus particles may last longer on surfaces in humid areas compared to dry climates.
The virus is more likely to be transmitted when people are inside during cold weather, compared to when people are outside in fresh air.
“As we move into warmer weather in Australia it will be interesting to see what happens with transmission of COVID-19,” Professor Kidd said in a video posted to Facebook.
“But whether you’re in the humid north of Australia during the summer months or the dry south of the continent, it’s still really important that we remain COVID-safe.”
Professor Kidd says that while chlorine kills coronavirus, there are still risks with going to swimming pools.
“There may be risk of transmission from surfaces in change rooms, in the bathrooms, on the handrails of the swimming pool, on the edges of the pool as well.”
He has also advised Australians to sanitise their hands before applying sunscreen.
Victoria recorded 15 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and two deaths, taking the national toll to 888.
NSW has gone six days without community transmission, as more residents of the state’s north are allowed into Queensland.
The border will remain shut to the rest of NSW until the state has gone for 28 days without a single incident of unlinked community transmission.
More coronavirus restrictions are being eased in South Australia to allow patrons in pubs and restaurants to drink while standing if they’re outdoors.