Australians are free to travel to New Zealand without quarantine

Eloise Marshall
April 7, 2021

New Zealand will allow quarantine-free visits by Australians from April 19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday, creating a "travel bubble" for the neighboring nations which have closed borders to the rest of the world to eradicate COVID-19.

The two national teams did travel between Australia and New Zealand past year, but had to quarantine for 14 days on either side of the journey.

The Australian Airports Association said the long-awaited two-way travel bubble would provide a much-needed boost to the aviation and tourism sectors and help to increase the confidence of potential travellers.

Ardern cautioned that the travel bubble comes with a warning: Flyer beware.

"Our consumer research suggests Australians are eager to get on an aircraft and start travelling again with nearly 80 per cent of Australians supportive of creating travel bubbles with countries where levels of COVID-19 are low", chief executive James Goodwin said.

The South Pacific nation is a popular holiday destination and its Covid-crippled tourism industry has been pressing for months to have quarantine-free travel for Australians, who make up about 40 percent of global visitors.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that to be eligible to travel to or from New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight, people must not have had a positive COVID-19 test result in the previous 14-day period and must not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test taken during that 14-day period.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"The fact that we can now combine again will mean jobs, it will mean people reunited, it will mean many opportunities as those normal relations are restored between Australia and New Zealand", he said.

"While I was standing on the podium behind me yesterday making this announcement, I wouldn't have been off the podium for more than five minutes and a friend sent me a screenshot of her flights to come to New Zealand".

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Along with Qantas, Virgin Australia recently received millions in dollars of assistance from the federal government to maintain its global aviation capability.

A Virgin Australia statement said evolving border requirements adding to the complexity of the business were behind the decision, along with fleet restrictions as the carrier made domestic flying its focus.

Those coming from Australia will be on planes exclusively for Australians, Ms Ardern said.

"And if we saw multiple cases of unknown origin, we would likely suspend flights for a set period of time", Ardern said. This will include vigilant contact tracing, and "green zones" separating travellers from Australia and New Zealand, and travellers from other destinations not within the bubble.

Australians should expect new rules such as temperature checks and mask wearing the next time they cross the Tasman.

"[This travel bubble] represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other part of the world".

"As you can hear, quite a bit of preparation is being required by airlines and airports and I thank them for that work".

"For this reason, we have suspended the sale of most New Zealand services until 31 October 2021". The airline has recently launched mystery flights to spur domestic tourism in Australia after the country extended its travel ban.

"Auckland-Sydney was our most popular route yesterday, seeing the largest growth in bookings to date".

Australia has so far registered some 29,400 injuries, including 909 deathsMost of it is due to an outbreak in Melbourne in mid-2020, while New Zealand, which is considered the best country that has managed the epidemic, is piling up.

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