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New Zealand suspends travel bubble with Australia

Update on 22 October 2021

Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island to Australia has resumed from 19 October 2021. Passengers travelling from South Island must not have travelled to North Island 14 days before travel and have a negative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. All travellers 12 years and above must be fully vaccinated unless they are medically exempt from vaccination.

Quarantine-free travel from North Island to Australia continues to be suspended, and passengers must enter into a 14-day supervised hotel quarantine on arrival. Similarly, quarantine-free travel from Australia to New Zealand remains suspended, and travellers must enter Managed Isolation (MIQ) when they arrive in New Zealand.

New Zealand suspends travel bubble

The New Zealand government has suspended the travel bubble with Australia because of the rising number of Delta Covid-19 outbreaks in the country with effect from 11.59 pm on 30 July. The travel bubble between the two countries meant that people could travel from one country to the other without quarantine and testing. These green zone flights have been in place since October from New Zealand to Australia and since April this year from Australia to New Zealand.

The travel bubble has been suspended for the next eight weeks, pending review in September. With the break in the travel bubble, Australians cannot travel quarantine-free to New Zealand, and New Zealanders returning from Australia need to self-isolate or head into quarantine depending on where they are travelling from.

New Zealanders travelling from all Australian states and territories must have a negative pre-departure test. However, passengers travelling from New South Wales will have to spend two weeks in a government-managed quarantine centre. Travellers from Victoria are required to self-isolate on arrival and have a negative day 3 test.

Hyper-contagious variant

The Delta Covid-19 variant has been classified as a variant of concern around the world. It is the most contagious coronavirus variant and is thought to spread two to three times faster than the original virus. The Delta variant is now the dominant strain worldwide and has been reported in 104 countries, including the US and the UK.

The presence of the Delta variant in Australia is a cause for concern because of its ability to infect more people faster. The Delta variant is more contagious because of the mutations on the spike protein, which help the virus infect human cells more easily than the original virus.

Travel bubble paused

The travel bubble between the countries has been paused to allow Australia the time to control the latest Covid-19 outbreak and for New Zealand to strengthen the country’s Covid-19 response. Qantas and Air New Zealand are the only two carriers flying this route since the bubble opened in April. The already subdued demand is expected to go down further as testing before flying will make it more expensive to travel.

Both Qantas and Air New Zealand have announced that most Australia to New Zealand services will most likely be cancelled. However, a small number of flights for essential travel and freight will continue to function.

Pet travel to New Zealand

Though pets can travel to New Zealand from Australia without quarantine, the number of flights between the two countries has decreased considerably. If you are planning to move back home to New Zealand with your pet, reach out to Petraveller for more information on pet relocation to New Zealand and a free pet travel quote.