The Government has decided to pause the trans-Tasman bubble for “at least” two months, starting 11:59pm tonight (Friday).
New Zealand citizens in Australia, as well as people who normally live in New Zealand but are currently visiting Australia, are being given seven days to return home.
In other words, they have seven days to get back, before the requirement for them to try to book a spot in managed isolation will kick in.
The rules are different for people who have been in New South Wales over the past 14 days. They will need to go into managed isolation even if they return within the next seven days.
People returning from Victoria in the next seven days will need to self-isolate until they receive a negative day-three test.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern assured the Government would work with airlines to bring people home if demand isn't met in the next seven days.
“The delta variant has materially changed the risk profile," Ardern said.
“COVID has changed, and so we must.”
Ardern said Immigration New Zealand staff are being sent to Australia to check those travelling to New Zealand have in fact had pre-departure tests done. To date, proper checking hasn't happened.
She noted New South Wales recorded 136 new cases of COVID-19 today. These weren't all linked to known cases.
Ardern also made the point that states covering half of Australia’s population (New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia) were already subject to travel pauses before the decision to completely suspend the bubble was made.
She said around 200,000 people had travelled between New Zealand and Australia since the bubble was established.
Ardern said restrictions were "absolutely" required to stamp out the delta variant. She repeated her view that a strong health response to COVID-19 is also the best economic response.
Here is more information from the Government:
Managed return green flights, without a requirement to enter MIQ, will be facilitated for travelers in low-medium risk states from 11.59pm on Friday 23 July to 11:59pm on Friday 30th July initially.
Travellers from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, ACT and Norfolk Island, can come home on a green flight subject to the below public health criteria:
- A negative pre-departure test, taken within 72-hours of their intended travel to New Zealand.
- Have not been in a location of interest in the past 14 days.
- Are not symptomatic at the time of travel.
- Are not a contact of a COVID-19 case.
Eligible people from Victoria or travellers from other states/territories who have been in Victoria can return provided they also:
- Adhere to lockdown measures in Victoria
- Self-isolate upon return to New Zealand and get a test at day 3
- Travel to the airport wearing facemasks and by safe travel, ie, not public transport.
Eligible people from New South Wales will continue to return on existing managed return flights. Returnees on these flights will be required to enter a managed isolation facility for at least 14 days on arrival in New Zealand.
Travel on all such flights will be limited to:
- New Zealand citizens and holders of residence class visas;
- Holders of temporary visas and Australian citizens, who last departed New Zealand after 5 April 2021;
- Holders of current permanent residence visas (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of Australia who last departed New Zealand after 5 April 2021; and
- Relevant family members of people listed in the above categories. (Relevant family member means: a spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner, a dependent child; or a parent of a dependent child. Parent, in relation to a dependent child, means a person on whom the child is dependant).
All travellers are asked to monitor themselves closely for any COVID-19 symptoms after arrival in the country and to diligently keep contact tracing records using the NZ COVID Tracer app or another form of diary.
Likewise, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home, get tested, and remain in isolation until a negative test result is returned.
For more information, visit Unite Against COVID-19: https://covid19.govt.nz/travel/quarantine-free-travel/australia/