What are travel bubbles and how will they help us to begin foreign travel after Covid-19?
The idea of travel bubbles has gained a lot of traction in recent weeks, as the world begins to resume normality after the Covid-19 pandemic and we all begin to wonder when we can start travelling again.
At the beginning of the month, New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern joined an Australian cabinet meeting (remotely, of course) to begin talks on a 'trans-Tasman travel bubble' — a shared zone between the two countries which would allow free movement of trade and people under a single quarantine area.
While New Zealand and Australia both have very positive records for containing the spread of Covid-19, the idea of travel bubbles has caught the attention of many around the world, with other European citizens wondering where they will be able to travel to first.
Another travel bubble that has already formed is that between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who began allowing free movement between the three countries on May 15. Again, these are states with positive responses to Covid-19 — all three countries have contained the virus to just a few dozen deaths.
However, not everyone is behind the idea of segregated travel areas within the EU. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said that the idea was "against the spirit of the European Union" and that once the pandemic is under control, all EU member states should open their borders.
Italy was one of the worst affected countries in the world from Covid-19, and recorded 32,000 deaths from the virus.
It will be interesting to see how the EU emerges from Covid-19 with regards to travel. In Ireland, we are limited in our travel bubble options. Britain, now exited from the EU, has a less than positive record of dealing with the virus, and free travel, while essential for trade and social reasons in Northern Ireland, could be a concern for spreading Covid-19.
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