The New Zealand government has confirmed that its travel bubble with Australia will be suspended until at least November 19, due to Govt-19 eruptions in both countries.
The non-isolated trip between the two countries began in April, but was suspended in July following an increase in cases in several Australian states. The suspension will be lifted on September 24, but will now last for another eight weeks, with the review scheduled for mid-November to late November.
In a statement, New Zealand Govit-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said: “When QFT (Travel Without Isolation) was established with Australia, both our countries had very few cases of the spread of Kovit-19 and a very similar anti-virus strategy. This changed dramatically, leading to our decision to stop QFT for eight weeks. Unrestricted exchange still occurs in Australia, with the number of cases continuing to rise in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian capital. In other states and territories a small number of cases appear intermittently. And in New Zealand, we are in the process of bringing an epidemic under control in Auckland. Our priority is to protect New Zealand from the potential spread of the delta variant of COVID-19. We have made great strides in controlling our current outburst and are working hard to loosen controls next week. The reopening of the isolated journey with Australia at this time could jeopardize those gains.
Chris Hipkins has confirmed that a third “red plane” between Australia and New Zealand is scheduled for “those in emergency situations”, allowing two similar flights to return to their Kiwis hometown after they were stranded in Australia this month.
Upon arrival in New Zealand they are required to spend 14 days at their own expense in a shelter managed in solitude and isolation (MIQ).
Last month, the New Zealand government unveiled plans to “connect the New Zealand people to the world.” Borders will remain largely closed until 2022, which will allow the country to “vaccinate as many New Zealanders as possible and safely conduct an isolation test for vaccinated New Zealanders to gradually resume travel without isolation.”
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