Cabinet meets to discuss trans-Tasman travel bubble as Australian COVID-19 situation worsens

Cabinet is meeting to discuss the quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel bubble.

The virtual meeting on Thursday afternoon has been planned for several days, according to a spokesperson, but comes despite a number of ministers being on leave during the parliamentary recess.

They’re discussing travel arrangements with Australia, where the COVID-19 situation continues to deteriorate. Any announcements that may come from the meeting would not be communicated until Friday.

New South Wales on Thursday reported 124 new cases, its highest daily total yet. That’s despite the state being weeks into restrictions. Victoria also had its worst day yet of the year, while South Australia also has local cases.

New Zealand has a pause in place currently with NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Questioned on Wednesday about the state of the bubble, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said arrangements are under “constant review”. 

“You have seen in the last week we have made two quite rapid decisions around Victoria and now South Australia,” he said. “We will continue to make adjustments and make decisions as we need to to make sure that we are reducing, as much as is possible, the risk to New Zealand.”

Currently, anyone coming to New Zealand from Australia must test negative for COVID-19 72-hours before their flight, complete a Nau Mai Rā travel declaration before departing from Australia, and indicate they have not been at a location of interest.

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