26 Jun 2021

Quarantine free travel with Australia paused for three days

9:36 pm on 26 June 2021
A general view shows the empty Qantas departure terminal at Melbourne Airport on August 20, 2020. -Qantas on August 20, 2020 posted an almost 2 billion USD annual loss due to the  pandemic.

Photo: AFP

Quarantine free travel from all Australian states and territories will be paused from 10.30pm tonight until 11.59pm on Tuesday.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement tonight, following updated public health advice from officials.

There are multiple cases and outbreaks in Australia at differing stages of containment and the health risk for New Zealand in response to these cases is increasing, the minister's office said in a statement.

As a result, the Government had widened the pause with New South Wales (NSW) to include all of Australia.

NSW Premier Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast would go into lockdown from 6pm tonight (local time) until 9 July. Some other local government areas are already in lockdown, and everyone in the region is advised to not leave their homes unless they have to.

The pause would allow the Government time to better understand the developing situation and consider how to make the bubble safer, such as the introduction of pre-departure testing for all flights from Australia to New Zealand, the statement said.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Government would review the decision on Monday, and remained committed to quarantine free travel with Australia.

"I acknowledge the frustration and inconvenience that comes with this pause, but given the high level of transmissibility of what appears to be 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," Hipkins said in a statement.

New Zealand travellers in Australia are advised to follow the health instructions of the state or territory they are in.

"Anyone who was in Australia from June 21 onwards should monitor their health, and be aware that the number of locations of interest are increasing and they should be checking these regularly," the statement said.

"It is also important that people contact Healthline should they develop any symptoms."

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