The virus crisis dominates the Australia and New Zealand summit

The virus crisis dominates the Australia and New Zealand summit

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand will meet on Sunday for the first time since the two countries were forced to close their borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tensions with China and the reopening of borders are expected to be the main topics of the meeting between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Morrison arrived in Queenstown, New Zealand, on Sunday. Ardern greeted the traditional Maori nose-touching gesture, known as hongi.

Morrison is the first major international leader to visit New Zealand since the two countries closed their borders in order to stem the spread of the virus. Neighboring countries created a common bubble last month, but the virus outbreak in Melbourne prompted New Zealand to suspend the agreement with the state of Victoria.

Morrison’s visit comes amid heavy flooding in New Zealand’s Canterbury region after heavy rains. Video footage showed a helicopter rescuing a farmer from the raging waters of a river, while other rivers overflowed and threatened thousands of homes.

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