Australia has unilaterally lifted a ban on travel to New Zealand. Many Australian states have already welcomed Kiwis with a brief break in January due to a small cluster of Covid-19 infections in Auckland.
New Zealanders don’t need prior approval when they travel overseas, even now, unlike Aussies, but there is a strict quarantine requirement for arrivals from anywhere, including Australia.
There have been talks about a Travel-Bubble between Australia and New Zealand going on and off soon for a year, but one may come to existence this time, however. The New Zealand Prime Minister has indicated that they would decide when and if to open one on April 6.
Here’s an excerpt from Traveller:
Australia has lifted its ban on international travel to New Zealand, paving the way for a two-way trans-Tasman bubble.
Health Minister Greg Hunt amended the country’s emergency biosecurity laws so that anyone who has been in Australia for at least 14 days can travel “directly to New Zealand”.
Australians were previously required to apply for an exemption to leave the country. At this stage, they will be required to quarantine in New Zealand upon arrival.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Monday that she would announce a start date for the long-awaited trans-Tasman bubble on April 6.
The safe travel zone would allow people from Australia to come to New Zealand without a two-week stay in a managed isolation hotel.
Here’s an excerpt from Stuff:
Ardern said opening up the bubble was a “priority” but she knew many New Zealanders were “nervous” about opening up.
She spoke of each country developing its own “individual armour” with mass vaccinations.
Ardern said there would be a “flyer beware” system as those in Australia could risk being trapped there in the event of an outbreak.
“We want to keep it moving – but we also want to keep both sides safe. So there may be a time where we take precautionary approaches and for short periods of time travel ceases,” Ardern said.
As things currently stand, Kiwis who travel to Australia when the quarantine-free trans-Tasman bubble opens will not be covered by travel insurance policies if an outbreak in either country leaves them stranded.
The problem with these “bubbles” is that they can easily burst. Countries close their borders without any advance notice like Australia did in January when several Australian states closed their borders from Kiwi arrivals.
The proposed bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore broke down only a couple of days before it was set to begin due to an outbreak in Hong Kong.
If you travel Trans-Tasman when this bubble opens, if it ever does, you must be prepared to spend a few weeks in another country if there are outbreaks and the border temporarily closed.