Quarantine-Free Travel Between NZ and NSW Has Been Paused Due to Sydney's Latest Outbreak
The suspension has been put in place for 72 hours initially, and will be under constant review.
There's really no such thing as normal during a pandemic — and if anyone ever needed a reminder of that fact, look no further than this week's changes to the trans-Tasman bubble. After pausing quarantine-free travel between Victoria and New Zealand for a month due to the former's current COVID-19 cluster, NZ allowed travel to resume just yesterday, Tuesday, June 22. Also happening yesterday: a new pause, this time on travel between New South Wales and NZ.
When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the two-way bubble between Australia and New Zealand 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. And, that has happened multiple times now. This isn't the first time it has been put on hold with NSW, either, with the same thing occurring back in May during the state's last outbreak.
At the moment, Sydney's Bondi cluster keeps growing, which is why the NZ Government has advised that it's stopping its arrangement with New South Wales for the time being.
Late yesterday, the NZ Government advised that the quarantine-free travel between NZ and NSW was being suspended, effective from 11.59pm NZ time. "This decision follows a public health assessment today which determined that while the overall risk to public health in New Zealand currently remains low, there are still several unknowns," it announced in a statement.
Initially, the pause will be in place for 72 hours, with the arrangement "under constant review". Since the announcement was made last night, it has been revealed that a positive COVID-19 case from Sydney travelled to Wellington on Friday, June 18, then returned to Sydney on Monday, June 21. Six locations of interest in Wellington have also been named.
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 get tested, isolate and call NZ's Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to obtain further advice. And, if you're currently in Australia and you've been to one of the Sydney venues identified, you should not travel to NZ.
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 June 23, 2021 by Sarah Ward