New Zealand resumes travel bubble with Queensland

New Zealand has resumed its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Queensland after the Australian state recorded another day of no new local Covid-19 infections.

On Monday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed the Sunshine State had not had an infectious case in the community for more than a week, effectively squashing a multi-cluster outbreak.

Queensland health authorities announced it would ease restrictions on mask wearing and social gatherings from Friday, prompting the New Zealand government to resume its travel bubble with the state from 11.59pm on Monday.

The news will be welcomed by thousands of Queenslanders who snapped up discounted ski holiday deals, however New Zealand remains closed off for those who have been in NSW, where the Sydney outbreak continues to soar.

“Travellers from Queensland, along with travellers from other parts of Australia – who haven’t been in NSW on or after 10:30pm (NZT) on 26 June, must meet all immigration and travel requirements including providing evidence of a negative pre-departure test, 72 hours prior to departure,” the New Zealand government announced on Monday.

Health authorities across the Tasman Sea noted the extended period between community cases for the significant reduction of risk.

“A public health risk assessment for Queensland has been carried out by the Ministry of Health, and they have assessed travel with the state as presenting a low public health risk,” it said.

“The last community case was 7 July, 2021. The last time a case was infectious in the community was on 4 July, 2021. There have been no unexpected wastewater detections, and community testing rates have been good. Queensland is also easing restrictions within the state.”

Earlier on Monday, Ms Palaszczuk revealed the mandatory mask wearing policy will be eased from 6am Friday, while aged care and hospital visits will resume and the cap on social gatherings will be increased.

“That is fantastic news,” Ms Palaszczuk announced on Monday morning. “Pubs, clubs and cafes will be able to increase the number of customers from one per four square metres to three per four square metres.”

The Premier warned, however, health authorities were closely monitoring soaring case numbers in Sydney and were considering slamming the border closed to NSW entirely.

“What we have seen is some other states and territories putting in place a hard border closure,” she said.

“At this stage, Queensland is monitoring the situation in Greater Sydney and NSW very closely.

“We have had extensive discussions this morning and we will be having those extensive discussions each and every day.”

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