New Zealand to open travel bubble with Australia

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden has announced that Australian travellers will be allowed to enter the country without mandatory hotel quarantine from 11:59pm on Sunday, April 18 NZ time. From this date, an exemption to leave Australia will also not be required for those travelling to New Zealand.

However, Ms Ardern warned people to be flexible with their travel plans, as they may be changes at short notice, including landing and going into hotel quarantine.

Those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of flyer beware,” Ms Arden warned, using the press conference to outline the three response scenarios of; continuing, pausing or suspending the bubble, that could play out if a case were to be detected in Australia.

The bubble would likely continue if there was a case linked to a quarantine or border worker that was contained quickly. If there was a localised outbreak that led to a short lockdown, like the recent one in Brisbane and the North Coast of New South Wales, a pause might be put in place. However, if there are several community cases with an unknown source then the Arden government will look to suspend the bubble temporarily. Therefore, “People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak.”

To minimise the likelihood of this, anyone flying into New Zealand will go through a “green zone” in airports and will be kept separate from those flying in from other parts of the world. An approach which has already been adopted for New Zealand travellers coming to Australia, as part of the one-way bubble that began last October with all states and territories (except Western Australia).

Travellers will not be required to have had a covid vaccine to travel to New Zealand or to come back to Australia. Although this could change in the near future, with Air New Zealand announcing in February 2021 that is was committed to trialling a vaccine passport for flights to Australia.

Source: ABC News

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