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April 7, 2021

Quarantine free Trans-Tasman bubble to open April 18

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has announced a two-way, quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel bubble that will start from 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 18th.

The New Zealand cabinet believed that the low-risk conditions at present were favourable for opening up this quarantine free bubble. Australians will now be able to travel to New Zealand worry free! “Cabinet believes any residual risk can be managed,” the Prime Minister stated. This decision comes after many months of setbacks due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic which follows minor outbreaks in both countries.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomes this news. “Australia and New Zealand have led the way when it comes to managing COVID,” he said.

What does this mean for travellers?

An exemption to leave Australia is not required for those travelling to New Zealand. As for kiwis looking to come to Australia, the bubble that began last October is still intact, with all state and territories except Western Australia taking part.

Like New Zealanders coming into Australia, anyone flying to New Zealand will be required to go through a “green-zone” in airports and will be kept separate from other passengers flying across the world.

This bubble also means that Australians can fly anywhere in New Zealand as long as flights are operating.

What if there is a COVID case?

Although the travel bubble will be in place, Ms Arden has warned that travellers will need to be prepared for any major disruptions. She mentions that while travel will be possible, it will not be as it was pre-COVID. Ms Arden further elaborates that once the travel bubble opens if New Zealand sees multiple COVID-19 cases of unknown origin, the country will be forced to suspend flights for a time once again.

Ms Arden further specified that travellers coming in from an outbreak or previous outbreak area may be asked to do one of the following, “depending on risk”:

  1. monitor symptoms
  2. take a test before they leave
  3. isolate on arrival
  4. go into managed isolation for 14 days, but only in “some situations

Ms Ardern said if a flight back from Australia did need to go into managed isolation people on board wouldn’t be charged. She also said a decision would be made next Wednesday on whether people flying in from Queensland would need to get a test before they boarded their flights. New Zealand’s approach mirror’s Australia’s which has seen the bubble paused temporarily during outbreaks in Auckland.

How much will it cost?

This criteria depends entirely on the airlines running the flights which are mainly Qantas and Air New Zealand. Virgin Australia has suspended the sale of most of its New Zealand flights up until the end of October stating that the “evolving border requirements” of the bubble add too much complexity to the nature of its business.

Do you need to be vaccinated?

You are not required to have a vaccine to travel to New Zealand or come to Australia.

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