New Zealand-Australia travel bubble to start on April 19

New Zealand-Australia travel bubble to start on April 19”

Australians will not be required to be vaccinated in order to travel to New Zealand, Ms Ardern said.

The confirmation of a quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand means Super Rugby Trans-Tasman can start as planned on May 14.

"Cabinet was presented with advice today that conditions for opening up quarantine-free travel with Australia had been met", the Kiwi leader said.

The news will come as a major boost to the two countries' Super Rugby sides, who have only played against domestic opposition since the regular Super Rugby season was cancelled in March 2020.

Ardern described it as a world leading move between New Zealand, with just 26 Covid-19 deaths in a population of five million, and Australia with fewer than 1,000 deaths in a population of 25 million.

The news will also come as a boost to test rugby in the southern hemisphere, which was seriously hampered by the pandemic past year.

Australians are free to travel to New Zealand with no mandatory quarantine from 11.59pm 18 April.

CEO Stephen Byron has said Canberra's COVID-safe record made it the flawless choice to be a port of departure and arrival for trans-Tasman travel, for which there was huge pent-up demand.

Many Canberrans, deprived of overseas travel for more than a year, will jump at the chance of a New Zealand holiday, not to mention New Zealanders wanting to see family again after being grounded in Australia by the pandemic. The one-way travel corridor began in October a year ago, allowing passengers from New Zealand to arrive in Australia without having to quarantine - but they've still been required to quarantine for 14 days after returning to NZ.

More news: Biden, experts say it’s too early to abandon social distancing

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also welcomed New Zealand's decision to once again allow travel across the Tasman in time for Anzac Day.

"We're opening it at exactly the right time", she said.

Ms Ardern said they were still awaiting evidence that demonstrated people travelling from high-risk countries would not pose a threat, before establishing a vaccine passport system.

However, if a case was found that was not clearly linked to the border, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, NZ would pause flights from that state in the same way it would stop travel in and out of a region in New Zealand as if it was were going into a full lockdown.

The airline said the decision reflects its more "pragmatic approach" to the border, and it looks forward to re-entering the market later in 2021.

If a case was clearly linked to a border worker or quarantine facility, the travel bubble would likely continue.

Passengers will be required to wear a mask on the flight and will also be asked to download and use New Zealand's version of the COVID-19 tracing app.

Those coming from Australia will be on planes exclusively for Australians, Ms Ardern said. Either simply monitor for symptoms, take a test before they depart, isolate on arrival or possibly go into hotel quarantine for up to 14 days.

The travel bubble will help allow families separated across the Tasman by the pandemic to be reunited, as well as boost tourism in New Zealand.

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