Quarantine-free travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand has been suspended as the Covid situation in Australia worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Friday.
From midnight last night (Friday night) Australians can no longer enter New Zealand without first entering quarantine, a measure that will be in place for at least eight weeks.
For the next seven days, there will be managed return flights for New Zealanders travelling home from all Australian states and territories. Prior to departure, they must provide proof of a negative test.
Returnees from NSW must still go into managed isolation
Additionally, those who have been in NSW will still have to go into managed isolation for 14 days. New Zealanders who have been in Victoria must self-isolate upon return and have a negative Day 3 test.
In a statement, the NZ Government said it was working closely with airlines to ensure there are flights available over this period, and to extend travel for a few days if necessary.
It said the decision to suspend the Trans-Tasman Bubble followed updated public health advice from officials on the growing number of cases and locations of interest across Australia.
“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,” Ardern said.
Ardern says response must evolve as the virus evolves
“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.
“Now is the time for a suspension to ensure New Zealanders aren’t put at undue risk from Covid-19 and to ensure we retain our hard-won gains. Our team of five million has worked hard to put us in a strong position both health-wise and economically. We will not risk that.”
Hipkins said the Government acknowledged the frustration and inconvenience that came with any interruption to Trans-Tasman travel.
“Given the high level of transmissibility of the Delta variant, and the fact that there are now multiple community clusters, it is the right thing to do to keep Covid-19 out of New Zealand,” he stated.