Australia and New Zealand have discussed a possible trans-Tasman or Pacific (includes small pacific islands) travel bubble for months, and it seemed like it had fallen off the radar.
The New Zealand Prime Minister made headlines on Monday after declaring that a bubble with Australia would likely be possible in early 2021, and another (holiday) one with the Cook Islands during the first quarter.
Here’s an excerpt from the RNZ:
She says ministers have discussed travel bubbles with Cook Islands and Australia this afternoon.
A travel bubble with Australia can be expected in the first quarter of 2021 “pending confirmation from the Australian Cabinet and no significant change in the circumstances in either country”, she says.
Officials have been working on preparations for that, Ardern says, while acknowledging that one of the criteria was 28 days of free of community transmission.
Clear plans will need to be made in the event of a community outbreak, she says, with enough space for potential returnees if borders shut again and arrangements for air crew and airlines.
A date on a trans-Tasman quaratine-free travel bubble will be announced in the new year.
It is difficult to see how a bubble could work if there is a requirement of absolutely no community spread for 28 days.
The proposed and agreed upon Singapore – Hong Kong bubble burst before the flights even started after some local infections in Hong Kong.
Kiwis are already welcomed to Australia but need to go through the rigid quarantine process if they return to New Zealand. The proposed bubble would allow quarantine free travel between these two countries both ways.