Australia and New Zealand are set to launch Asia-Pacifics first official travel bubble since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing plans to open the borders from Monday 19 April.
The culmination of months of negotiations between the APAC neighbors will see quarantine-free travel made available in both directions, ending the current one-way deal that allows New Zealand arrivals to enter some Australian states but imposes a mandatory 14-day quarantine on anyone traveling from Australia to New Zealand.
The Director-General of Health considers the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from Australia to New Zealand is low and that quarantine free travel is safe to commence, Ardern said Tuesday.
The bubble will give our economic recovery a boost and represents a world leading arrangement of safely opening up international travel while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and keeping the virus out.
We have worked hard to ensure travel is safe and that the necessary public health measures are in place.
The introduction of a trans-Tasman travel bubble comes almost two months after New Zealands most recent case of community transmission, while Australia has been largely COVID-free since the start of the year with the exception of a small outbreak in Queensland last month.
Assuming there are no outbreaks before 19 April, it would also represent the first travel bubble in Asia-Pacific since the start of the pandemic after plans to launch a bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore fell through in November.
Macau has welcomed visitors from mainland China since August 2020.