New Zealand suspends travel bubble with Australia


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New Zealand on Saturday announced a three-day suspension of its quarantine travel agreement with Australia, with Wellington citing “multiple” outbreaks of COVID-19 in the neighboring country.

The announcement comes as a two-week shutdown begins in Sydney to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the Delta coronavirus variant.

To date, more than 80 cases have been reported in Australia’s largest city, while in recent days a handful of community cases have also been reported in the Northern Territory, Victoria and Queensland.

“But given the high level of transmissibility of what appears to be the Delta variant, and the fact that there are now several community clusters (in Australia), it’s the right thing to do to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand.” said New Zealand COVID-19 response minister Chris Hipkins.

Hipkins said he understood the inconvenience the break would cause and added that New Zealand remained committed to free quarantine. with Australia.

He added that the suspension would give officials time to consider measures “to make the bubble safer, such as exit tests for all flights” between the two countries.

New Zealand has previously stopped the bubble deal five times with individual states, but this is the first time it has put an end to quarantined travel from all over Australia.

Both countries have been one of the most successful in containing COVID-19. New Zealand has recorded only 26 deaths from COVID-19 in a population of five million and Australia has had less than 1,000 deaths in a population of 25 million.

The trans-Tasmanian travel bubble opened in mid-April, more than a year after the two countries closed their international borders due to the pandemic. It has been hailed as an important milestone in the resumption of the global travel industry.

New Zealand stops travel bubble with Australian state

© 2021 AFP

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