NZ quarantine-free travel into Australia to resume

Quarantine-free travel for New Zealanders entering Australia will resume from midnight, with Australian health authorities confident their Kiwi counterparts have got a highly contagious strain of coronavirus under control.

The one-way travel bubble was suspended in late January after a South African strain of COVID-19 was detected across the Tasman.

New Zealanders wanting to enter Australia without quarantining will need a negative coronavirus test result less than 72 hours prior to departure, if they have been in Auckland any time in a two-week period before travelling.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said state and territory health officials, forming the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), met on Saturday and received a briefing from New Zealand officials.

He said the data suggested travellers coming in from New Zealand posed a “low risk” of bringing COVID-19 into Australia.

“The AHPPC monitors the situation in many locations and will continue to advise on a range of decisions in the interest of the health of all Australians,” Professor Kelly said in a statement.

“These decisions are not easy and we do not take them lightly, and all AHPPC members appreciate the ongoing patience and flexibility of Australians and New Zealanders, including those in the tourism and travel industry.

“We will continue to move quickly to protect Australians as circumstances change, but we will always endeavour to move just as quickly when those situations are brought under control, or otherwise resolve.”

The travel bubble only applies for New Zealanders entering Australia, and not for travel in the opposite direction.

The arrangements will be reviewed by the end of the month.