New Zealand Pauses Quarantine-Free Travel With Australia

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New Zealand Pauses Quarantine-Free Travel With Australia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand announced a pause on quarantine-free travel from Australia for at least eight weeks, as Australia battles a surge of coronavirus cases caused by the Delta variant.

There is greater risk now from the Delta variant than there was when we opened the quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia. It is the government’s duty to keep New Zealanders safe from Covid-19, and we continue to believe that the strongest health response is also the strongest economic response. It’s on that basis that the director general of Health has recommended and cabinet has agreed to suspend quarantine-free travel with Australia. From 11:59 p.m. tonight, Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be in place for at least the next eight weeks. At that point, we will reassess our arrangements. We do want the bubble to resume. We remain committed to it. And when I spoke to Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning, I conveyed this view directly. But it must be safe. In the lead up to reviewing the suspension, we’d need to be certain that the outbreak in New South Wales and wider Australia is contained, that any remaining cases are generally linked, that we don’t see the large number of cases, we’re currently seeing in the community. This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly, but it is, we believe, the right one.

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