Since its inception, New Zealand and Australia’s travel bubble has been the envy of travelers around the world, offering international travel and a reminder of what traveling used to be like prior to the pandemic. However, effective as of today, the travel bubble between the two countries has been temporarily suspended, causing a dent in the belief of travel bubbles being a safe way to travel during the pandemic. Here’s more information about what the bubble was, why it has been suspended and whether or not travelers can still make the trip to New Zealand or Australia.
The New Zealand-Australia Travel Bubble – why was it so revered?
As entry restrictions around the world change from day to day, the travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia offered a reminder of how travel used to be.
Rather than needing proof of test results, quarantine hotel booking or vaccination, travelers were able to board selected flights from New Zealand to either Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane without needing to quarantine on arrival – leaving travelers free to explore their destinations after stepping out of the airport. The low daily case numbers and local transmission figures in the two countries made such an arrangement possible, with the two countries acting quickly to pounce on any outbreaks and introduce restrictions aimed at minimizing further spread of the virus.
Whilst it was only a one-way agreement – with those returning to New Zealand needing to quarantine as normal – it was a step in the right direction and a blueprint for future travel arrangements around the world. However, the bubble has officially been burst following today’s news.
Travel Bubble Suspended – What Travelers Should Know
The decision to temporarily suspend the travel bubble comes following the discovery of a case of Covid-19 in New Zealand. A 56-year-old woman was found to have contracted the South African variant of Covid-19 following her 14-day isolation period in Auckland.
The woman had already completed her quarantine in the Pullman hotel and had returned two negative Covid-19 tests, after which she left the facility and had proceeded to travel around the region. However, after later developing symptoms, she tested positive for the more-virulent South African strain of the virus. It is believed that she contracted the virus from somebody staying on the same floor of her quarantine hotel.
Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt today announced the temporary suspension of the travel bubble for a period of at least 72 hours. Those with flights from New Zealand to Australia have been asked to reconsider their need for travel, and will now have to go into quarantine once they reach Australia. Quarantine in Australia can be for anywhere between 72 hours and 14 days, and will require the travelers to be tested for the virus.
New Zealand and Australia – Open To Travelers?
Travel to both countries is highly restricted at present. Entry to New Zealand is open only to those traveling for a critical purpose, with most travelers also needing to provide proof of a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their first flight. Australia too is only open for those traveling with essential purposes, unless the traveler is a citizen, resident or immediate family member. With the news that Australia is unlikely to allow international travel until 2022, it might be a while until travelers make it to the Land Down Under.
Subscribe to our Latest Posts
Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories