Australia and New Zealand travel bubble begins April 18

(CNN) – New Zealand will allow Australians to travel to the country without quarantine, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference on Tuesday, April 6.

The travel bubble is scheduled to begin Sunday, April 18 at 11:59 p.m., Ardern added. Australia has allowed New Zealand travelers to enter without quarantine, and New Zealand is now doing the same.

“This is an important step in our response to Covid and represents an arrangement that I don’t think we have seen anywhere else in the world. That is, to safely open international travel to another country while continuing with an elimination strategy and a commitment to keep the virus out, “Ardern said during the event.

Under the new rules, travelers will not be able to travel if they had a positive Covid-19 test in the previous 14 days or if they have flu-like symptoms. The prime minister also said the trip “will not be what it was before the covid”, explaining that flights could be suspended again in the event of a new outbreak or travelers could be asked to undergo a PCR test or they are quarantined upon arrival, depending on the nature and source of the infections.

Ardern also said that travelers coming from Australia will board “green zone” flights.

“That means there will be no passengers on that flight who have come from anywhere other than Australia in the last 14 days,” Ardern said, adding that the crews operating the connection “have not flown on any high-risk routes during a specified period of time “. . “

“[This] Travel bubble represents the beginning of a new chapter in our covid response and recovery, one that people have worked so hard on. That makes New Zealand and Australia relatively unique. I know that family, friends and important parts of our economy will welcome it, as I know I certainly do, “Ardern said.

The long-awaited “trans-Tasman bubble” has had its ups and downs. The plan was first launched in October 2020, but then turned into a one-way bubble when another wave of cases hit Australia, meaning New Zealanders could travel to Australia mostly without issue, but Australians could not. they were able to go to New Zealand.

And that’s not the only “bubble” in the Asia-Pacific region that has been extinguished or postponed amid the ever-changing pandemic.

Meanwhile, Fiji announced its goal of creating a “bull bubble” with other countries in the region, including Australia and New Zealand, but the idea has yet to take off.
A bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was supposed to start in November, but was canceled just 24 hours before the first flights due to a small increase in cases in Hong Kong.

New Zealand’s hard work to contain the virus appears to have paid off. The country recorded only 2,524 cases and 26 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

CNN’s Lilit Marcus contributed to this report.


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