Australia and New Zealand's Trans-Tasman Bubble Has Been Suspended for At Least Eight Weeks
With three Australian states currently in lockdown, New Zealand has once again paused quarantine-free travel.
For residents of Australia and New Zealand, taking an overseas holiday hasn't really been on the agenda for much of the pandemic due to strict international border controls in both countries. Since April, however, the trans-Tasman bubble has let Aussies take a getaway in NZ and vice versa, all without having to go through quarantine upon arrival. But, with COVID-19 cases growing across Australia again, and the Greater Sydney area and all of both Victoria and South Australia currently in lockdown, NZ has just suspended the arrangement.
Announced today, Friday, July 23, by NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the pause applies to quarantine-free travel to and from all Aussie states and territories. This isn't the first time that the bubble has been put on hold with all of Australia, with the same thing happening at the end of June. It has been paused with individual Aussie states before, too, as is currently the case with New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. This time, though, the nationwide suspension will stay in place for at least the next eight weeks.
The pause will come into effect from 11.59pm NZT / 9.59pm AEST today for Australians entering NZ. For New Zealanders heading home, managed return flights will run for the next seven days; however, to get on one, you'll need proof of a negative pre-departure test. And, if you've been in NSW, you will still have to go into managed quarantine for 14 days. Folks who've been in Victoria must self-isolate upon return, and also have a negative Day 3 test.
"There are now multiple outbreaks, and in differing stages of containment, that have forced three states into lockdown. The health risk to New Zealanders from these cases is increasing," Prime Minister Ardern said. "We've always said that our response would evolve as the virus evolved. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep New Zealanders safe."
When NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern first announced the two-way bubble between Australia and New Zealand back in April, she noted that it could and would be paused if and when outbreaks occur — so none of the suspensions so far, including this one, are surprising.
The NZ Government advised that this current pause "will give Australia time to manage its current outbreaks, while giving New Zealand health officials the time to monitor the situation, assess travel developments in other countries and consider different quarantine-free travel settings while ensuring New Zealanders are safe."
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's 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 July 23, 2021 by Sarah Ward