For the first time in over a year, people can travel to New Zealand from Australia without having to contend with a strict quarantine. The countries’ leaders hope to expand the arrangement.
The “trans-Tasman travel bubble” allows Australians and New Zealanders to visit each others’ country without any restrictions. The two nations’ governments imposed heavy restrictions on entry into their respective country in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is truly exciting to start quarantine-free travel with Australia. Be it returning family, friends or holidaymakers, New Zealand says welcome and enjoy yourself,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
Although people arriving from New Zealand have been able to travel to parts of Australia without quarantine since October, Monday was the first time that people could travel, or return, to New Zealand without going into a two-week controlled isolation.
The first flight under the new arrangement took off on Monday morning from Sydney, heading for Auckland.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the travel bubble a “win-win” for both countries, allowing them to boost their economies. Ardern and Morrison described it as a “world-leading arrangement” in a joint statement.
The duo are looking to include further countries in the Pacific in the quarantine-free travel bubble, once they are considered safe.