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Thursday, October 21, 2021

NZ travel bubble to further ease from Friday

The New Zealand Government has announced it will further ease Australia travel bubble restrictions from 9.59pm (11.59pm NZT) this Friday.

“Officials have assessed that the spread of COVID-19 cases appears to have been contained in Western Australia and Northern Territory, that there is robust surveillance, testing and contact tracing to detect and manage cases, and adequate border controls are in place to prevent the spread of new cases,” said NZ’s COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins today.    

“Based on this advice, Cabinet has today agreed that passengers can resume travel between New Zealand and Western Australia and Northern Territory from Saturday morning, 10 July, subject to strict conditions that will minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading to New Zealand.”

He said conditions included a negative pre-departure test result from a test taken within three days before departure – which is already a requirement for all travel from Australia to New Zealand.

“Travellers must not also have previously been in New South Wales or Queensland on or after 10:30pm (NZT) on 26 June. If they have been at a location of interest before then, they will not be able to travel to New Zealand for 14 days since they were last at that location.”

Travellers must also:

  • follow the current public health measures in place;
  • wear face coverings on the aircraft and at the airport;
  • make a health declaration;
  • self isolate and be tested immediately if they have any symptoms of illness.

“They should download the COVID tracer app and may be subject to random temperature checks,” said Mr Hipkins.

New Zealand’s travel pause with South Australia, ACT, Tasmania and Victoria was lifted this morning.

Travel from NSW and Queensland

“Quarantine Free Travel with Australia is important for both countries but only when it is safe. That’s why decisions are made for each state or territory,” the Minister said.

“Officials’ current assessment is that it’s too soon to make a call to lift the pause between New Zealand and Queensland, and as an extra precaution they want to see two or three more days’ worth of data. The pause between New Zealand and NSW will continue until further notice.”

He said the NZ Government was, however, extremely mindful there will be people currently in NSW and Queensland that are ordinarily residents in New Zealand who are “desperate to know when they can return and what steps they need to take”.

“Managed return flights from NSW and Queensland for those eligible will start from 11.59pm (NZT), Friday 9 July, subject to conditions,” he said.

“The introduction of these managed return flights will be similar to how we managed the return of travellers following the Victorian lockdown. Further details of the conditions will be issued tomorrow morning.”

*Travellers eligible for managed return flights are:

  • New Zealand citizens and holders of residence class visas;
  • Holders of temporary visas and Australian citizens, who last departed New Zealand after 5 April 2021;
  • Holders of current permanent residence visas (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of Australia who last departed New Zealand after 5 April 2021; and
  • Relevant family members of people listed above.

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