Quarantine-Free Travel Between New Zealand and Victoria Has Been Paused
The New Zealand Government has suspended the travel bubble after five locally acquired COVID-19 cases were identified in Melbourne 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 Melbourne identifying five locally acquired COVID-19 cases so far this week, and implementing restrictions and an indoor mask mandate in response, the NZ Government has advised that it's stopping its arrangement with Victoria for the time being.
Today, Tuesday, May 25, the NZ Government announced that the quarantine-free travel between NZ and NSW is being suspended, effective from 11.59pm NZ time. "Officials have assessed that the most cautious option is to pause the travel bubble with Victoria as there are still several unknowns with the outbreak," it said in a statement.
Initially, the pause will be in place for 72 hours, beginning at 7.59pm NZT today — which is 5.59pm AEST. The aim: to give Victorian authorities time to investigate the five cases, which appear closely linked to the last local case of COVID-19 in Melbourne, from earlier in May, according to the genome sequencing results so far.
Whether you're a Melburnian 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 exposures sites in Melbourne 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 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 — and doing the same with New South Wales this month as well. In both cases, flights with NZ were given the all-clear to resume within days.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 in Victoria, head over to the Department of Health website. To find out more about the virus and travel restrictions in New Zealand, visit to the NZ Government's COVID-19 hub.
Published on May 25, 2021 by Sarah Ward