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New Zealand approves quarantine-free travel for Australians

New Zealand approves quarantine-free travel for Australians

The long-awaited Trans-Tasman travel bubble will start from 11.59pm on April 18.

The New Zealand cabinet has approved the formation of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Tuesday, April 6.

The travel bubble will allow people to travel between the two countries without 14 days quarantine.

Quarantine-free NZ travel

The Trans-Tasman bubble announcement comes after both countries successful managed to contain coronavirus with strict border closures.

New Zealand nationals have been able to enter Australia without quarantine since October 2020.

“While quarantine-free travel to Australia and vice versa will start in a fortnight, it will not be what it was pre-COVID,” Ardern said.

“Those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so with the guidance of flyer beware.”

New Zealand travel bubble
The New Zealand travel bubble is still going ahead. Credit: Shutterstock

Potential for travel bubble disruption

The Trans-Tasman bubble could be paused if an outbreak occurs in either Australia or New Zealand.

“Once we know about a case in Australia we will have three possible responses when it comes to flights and access to our border, and we’ve captured these with a framework based on continue, pause, or suspend,” Ardern said.

If a case is found in a border worker and is well contained, flights will continue. If a case is found that can not be linked to the border and a state responds by a short lockdown to identify more information, NZ will pause flights into and out of New Zealand to that state.

“If we saw multiple cases of unknown origin, we would likely suspend flights for a set period of time,’ Ardern said.

“It does mean we have the ability if we believe it safe to do so, to potentially pause or suspend flights in one state whilst, if another state remains unaffected, continuing travel there. So that flexibility exists but we’ll be using it cautiously and wisely.”

Hooker Valley Track, New Zealand

How the NZ travel bubble flights will work

Australians travelling to New Zealand will need to book a “green zone flight”.

“That means there’ll be no passengers on that flight who have come from anywhere but Australia in the last 14 days,” Ardern said.

“They will also be flown from crew who have not flown on any high-risk routes for a set period of time.”

Australians will need to provide comprehensive information on how they can be contacted in New Zealand.

They will not be able to travel if they have any cold or flu symptoms.

“When they fly, they will be required to wear a mask on a flight and will also be asked to download and use the NZ COVID Tracer app for use in New Zealand.”

Hawkes Bay New Zealand.

Arrival in New Zealand

On arrival in New Zealand, Australian passengers will be taken through”green zones” at the airport meaning there’ll be no contact with those arriving from other parts of the world and going into managed isolation or quarantine facilities.

“We will also be undertaking random temperature checks of those arriving as an extra precaution,” Ardern said.

Arden’s plea for Australians to visit New Zealand

Asked why Australians should visit New Zealand, Arden said she had “so many reasons”.

“The first thing that I would say is that we are safe and we cannot underestimate how important that is in this COVID-19 world,” Ardern said.

“We are a safe place to bring your family to come and visit. We are a safe place to bring your family to come and visit.”

“We are fast approaching ski season and I know that’s something that Australians love to partake in.

“But even if you’re not a skier, I can’t begin the list the beautiful places we have to visit.

“It is ultimately a change of scene that so many have been looking for. You may not have been in long periods of lockdown but you haven’t had the option. Now you have the option, come and see us.”