“The fact that we can combine again will mean jobs and will mean people reunited.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed a two-way, quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel bubble will start from 11.59pm on Sunday, April 18.
Ms Ardern said New Zealand cabinet believed conditions for opening up quarantine-free travel had been met and the risk was low.
“Cabinet believes any residual risk can be managed,” she said.
The decision comes after months of setbacks following minor outbreaks in both countries. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has welcomed the news of two-way, quarantine-free travel. “Australia and New Zealand have led the way when it comes to managing COVID,” Mr Morrison said.
“The fact that we can combine again will mean jobs and will mean people reunited.” Ms Ardern warned that despite the travel bubble, travelers will still need to prepare for the possibility of major disruptions. “While quarantine-free travel to Australia and vice versa will start in a fortnight, it will not be what it was pre-COVID,” Ms Ardern said.
“While we absolutely wish to encourage family and friends to reunite and visitors to come and enjoy the hospitality New Zealand is ready and waiting to offer, those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of flyer beware. People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak.”
Ms Ardern said New Zealand now has a framework for managing an outbreak in Australia. “Once we know about a case in Australia, we will have three possible responses when it comes to flights and access to our border.”
Any travelers caught up in affected states would be asked to follow at least one of these four instructions:
- Monitor symptoms on return
- Take a test before they depart
- Isolate on arrival
In some situations, go into managed isolation for up to 14 days
The majority of Australian states already allow Kiwis into the country, but when they return to New Zealand they must undergo 14 days in hotel quarantine at their own expense. Ms Ardern said when Australians make the decision to come to New Zealand “they’ll be making a booking on what is called 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,” she said. “They will also be flown from crew who have not flown on any high-risk routes for a set period of time.”
Passengers will need to provide comprehensive information on how they can be contacted while in New Zealand. Ms Ardern said Australians won’t be able to travel if they have cold or flu symptoms.
When travellers 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.
Upon arrival, passengers will be taken through “green zones” at the airport.
This means there’ll be no contact with those arriving from other parts of the world.
This could be the start of the gradual reopening of both country’s borders for international flights.
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