In what is positive news for the travel industry at large today, New Zealand has announced it will welcome Queensland back into the trans-Tasman bubble from Tuesday 13 July, leaving NSW as the only current state currently on pause from Australia.
While there is no timeline to return NSW to the quarantine-free travel arrangement, Jacinda Ardern’s government is from Tuesday allowing travellers from the sunshine state to visit without a fortnight spent in isolation.
“The health risk from Queensland is now low,” Ms Ardern said on Monday.
“Quarantine-free travel from Queensland to New Zealand can resume from 11.59pm tonight.”
NZ ordered a whole-of-Australia border closure a fortnight ago following the discovery of COVID-19 at a Northern Territory mine site with fly-in fly-out workers across the country.
The growing outbreak has left thousands of Kiwis trapped in NSW after travelling to Sydney before the border closure.
NZ is allowing citizens to come home if they agree to spend a fortnight in hotel quarantine.
“So that’s an indication that we think that there is a significant road to travel (before NSW is back in the bubble),” Ms Ardern said.
“I wouldn’t want to at this stage, put a date on when we would likely see a pause lift.”
Response to the mercy flights home has been huge. Nine Air New Zealand flights from Sydney sold out within 15 minutes of going on sale on Monday morning.
“We would love to be able to bring more Kiwis home to their families, but we’re limited by the availability of (quarantine) spots,” Air New Zealand executive Leanne Geraghty said.
“Our teams have worked tirelessly with the government over the weekend to get these managed return flights up and running so we can reconnect Kiwis with their loved ones.
“We recognise this is a very stressful and emotional time for those customers wishing to return from NSW, and we’re doing everything we can to get them home as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Ms Ardern’s government has also mandated pre-departure testing for all travellers from Australia as an additional safety measure to prevent an outbreak in Aotearoa.
NZ has not recorded any community transmission since February.
Travellers to New Zealand must return a negative PCR test 72-hours before departure
Queensland’s return to the fold means all Australian states and territories – except for NSW – have resumed regular trans-Tasman border settings.
However, updated arrival requirements for all states approved to travel to New Zealand mean that all travellers over two years old must have a negative PCR or RT-PCR pre-departure test result to enter New Zealand.
This also applies to all COVID-19 vaccinated travellers.
Pre-departure testing and result certificates for travel clearance are provided by pathology clinics across Australia at your own expense (Between AU$150 and $220 per test) and a negative result must be returned no more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure time to New Zealand.
You only need to get a pre-departure test if you have been in Australia for more than 72 hours.
Find out more: www.covid19.govt.nz/travel
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