NZ pauses travel bubble with Australia

New Zealand has announced it will be pausing the trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia for at least three days.

On Saturday night the NZ government revealed quarantine free travel from every Australian state and territory would stop from 8.30pm AEST on Saturday until at least 10pm AEST on Tuesday.

“There are now multiple cases and outbreaks in Australia in differing stages of containment and the health risk for New Zealand in response to these cases is increasing,” a statement from the NZ government said.

“As a result the Government has taken the precautionary step of temporarily widening the current pause with New South Wales to include all of Australia.

“This short pause will give us time to get a better understanding of the developing situation and to consider the potential implementation of a range of measures to make the bubble safer, such as the introduction of pre-departure testing for all flights from Australia to New Zealand.”

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

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The NZ government said it will reassess the situation on Monday to see if the pause needs to be extended, though officials stressed the country remains “committed to Quarantine Free Travel with Australia”.

The country’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the decision to pause the travel bubble was based on the rise in cases across multiple states.

“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,” Mr Hipkins said.

Anyone who was in Australia from June 21 and is now in New Zealand are being asked to monitor for Covid-19 symptoms and regularly check Australian exposure sites.

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The travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia will be paused for at least three days. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Sydney’s outbreak rose to 82 cases on Saturday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing a two-week lockdown for residents in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong.

Until 11.59pm on Friday, July 9, there will only be four reasons to leave home for people living in these areas, including:

• Shopping for food or other essential goods

• Work or education that cannot be undertaken at home

• Medical care or compassionate needs, including getting a Covid-19 test or vaccine

• Outdoor exercise in groups of 10 or less

The decision to stop the trans-Tasman bubble comes just days after New Zealand paused quarantine free travel from NSW due to Sydney’s growing Covid-19 outbreak.

It came into effect at 11.59pm on Tuesday and was originally set to last for 72 hours.

There has already been a Covid-19 scare on flights running between Australia and New Zealand.

Earlier in the week travellers on board two different “flights of concern” travelling from Sydney to Wellington and vice versa were ordered into mandatory 14 day self-isolation by authorities.

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