Quarantine-Free Travel Between New Zealand and New South Wales Has Been Paused
The New Zealand Government has suspended the travel bubble after two locally acquired COVID-19 cases were identified in Sydney this week.
When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the two-way trans-Tasman bubble back in April — allowing Australians to travel to NZ without quarantining upon arrival — she noted that it could and would be paused if and when outbreaks occur. Accordingly, with Sydney identifying two locally acquired COVID-19 cases this week, and implementing restrictions and a mask mandate in response, the NZ Government has advised that it's stopping its arrangement with New South Wales for the time being.
Today, Thursday, May 6, the NZ Government advised that the quarantine-free travel between NZ and NSW is being suspended, effective from 11.59pm NZ time. "Officials have assessed that with several outstanding unknowns in the situation in Sydney it is safest to pause the quarantine-free travel," it announced in a statement.
The NZ Government hasn't specified a timeframe for the pause, but its statement notes that "this will be under constant review". The aim: to give NSW authorities time to investigate the source of the two cases, which have been linked via genome sequencing to a returned overseas traveller — but no physical connection between the current cases and the recent returnee has been identified as yet.
Whether you're a Sydneysider on holiday in NZ or a New Zealander who has recently returned from across the ditch, anyone now in NZ who has been at one of the locations of interest in Sydney is required to isolate, then call NZ's Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to obtain advice about getting tested for COVID-19. And, if you're currently in Australia and you've been to one of the Sydney venues identified, you should not travel to NZ.
This isn't the first time that the trans-Tasman bubble has been paused, with NZ suspending flights from Western Australia at the beginning of May in response to Perth's recent cases. Flights between NZ and WA were given the all-clear to resume just a day later.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website. To find out more about the virus and travel restrictions in New Zealand, head over to the NZ Government's COVID-19 hub.
Published on May 06, 2021 by Sarah Ward