Jacinda Ardern suspends New Zealand travel bubble with Australia

The travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been suspended.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that “the Delta variant has materially changed the risk profile”. 

From 11:59pm tonight, Australians will be unable to travel to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight. 

This restriction will be in place for at least the next eight weeks. 

“For New Zealanders in Australia, we are absolutely committed to getting you home,” Ms Ardern said. 

“For the next seven days we will have managed return flights for New Zealanders from all states and territories. 

“Only New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand will be able to fly home.” 

Quarantine-free flights from New Zealand to Australia began in October, and from Australia to New Zealand in April this year.

The so-called “green zone flights” allowed travellers to move between the two countries without quarantining at their destination.  

Flights to New Zealand inside the bubble have been paused and restarted as different Australian states have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks. 

The bubble is already closed to travellers flying into New Zealand from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as those states battle COVID-19 outbreaks. 

New South Wales recorded 136 new cases of community transmission in the 24 hours to 8:00pm Thursday — the highest number of new daily cases since the outbreak began last month.  Victoria recorded 14 new cases in the same period. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the move was a reasonable one. 

“The New Zealand government has been consistent in their policies and we respect their policies and this is a virus that is affecting the world and we should not think that we are any different,” she said. 

More to come.  

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