Asia-Pacific countries begin to ease pandemic-related travel bans, but hurdles remain

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asia-Pacific countries including Singapore, Australia and Japan are gradually easing some international travel restrictions as coronavirus cases slow, in hopes of helping to revive their economies.

International travel in Asia has collapsed during the pandemic due to border closures, with passenger numbers down 97% in August, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

Although European countries that had been more open add fresh travel restrictions as cases rise, in Asia the trend is toward easing, though not always on a bilateral basis.

For now, few people are likely to travel because of testing and insurance requirements, and in some cases the need to quarantine upon return home, meaning the deals offer limited hope for airlines and the tourism industry.

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