The trans-tasman travel bubble announcement brings a new sense of anticipation for Australians and New Zealanders keen to dust off their passports.
The no-quarantine travel corridor has been a noteworthy topic for some months now. However, due to previous outbreaks, the travel talks were put on hold. The one way bubble for New Zealanders travelling to Australia has been going since last October.
But that is set to change. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, broke the news at a press conference on Tuesday, revealing that the two-way bubble is set to begin from April 19.
“This is an important step forward in our COVID response and represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other parts of the world.”
The decision comes with assurance from Ardern and her cabinet that it’s safe for a travel bubble to commence. Meanwhile, the two-way travel will reunite families and friends and will also bring a boost to the NZ tourism industry.
Ardern went onto further clarify that whilst the bubble is a fantastic start in opening up the NZ economy to Australia, the safety of NZ citizens is at the forefront of her plans.
“That is, safely opening up international travel to another country while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and a commitment to keeping the virus out.”
Furthermore, the NZ leader also clarified that it wont be the same as pre-COVID times. She warned travellers that plans could change at any time if outbreaks occur.
“People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak.”
Scott Morrison also weighed in on the new bubble, commending Australia and NZ on their efforts with the virus.
How will quarantine-free travel operate?
This is great news if you’re craving that NZ ski vacation that you planned in 2020. Or if you just want to catch up on all the time lost with family and friends.
The travel passageway will only be between Australia and New Zealand and open to only citizens of both countries.
Jacinda Ardern has introduced a three stage process known as the “green zone flight system”. The “continue, pause or suspend bubble” plan will be implemented to deal with cases or outbreaks that may potentially arise.
“Once we know about a case in Australia, we will have three possible responses when it comes to flights and access to our border…”
Meanwhile, the three stage situational plan will assist NZ in assessing the impact of any cases and the severity of actions from each level.
The plan also means that travellers from outbreak-affected areas are required to follow one of four instructions. These include: monitor for symptoms on return; take a test before they depart; isolate on arrival at destination; or where cases are unknown, go into mandatory 14 day isolation.
Passengers will be expected to wear a mask while on board planes. And will also present NZ authorities with their personal contact information and download the NZ COVID tracer app.
Despite talks earlier this year from Air New Zealand trialing a vaccine passport, the vaccine will not be required for those travelling to our island neighbour.
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