New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern announced Tuesday that Australia and New Zealand had authorized quarantine-free travel between the two nations, allowing their residents to visit either country without quarantining.
The measure will take effect from April 19.
Since October last year, most Australian states have allowed New Zealand travelers to enter without quarantine, as both nations have successfully controlled outbreaks of COVID-19 cases, keeping infection rates close to zero.
However, New Zealand continued to limit entries.
Several countries took strict measures to close their borders in March last year, when the first wave of coronavirus cases began, and established mandatory quarantine for returnees. Both Australia and New Zealand instated quick closures when outbreaks started emerging to stop the virus from spreading in their territories.
According to Ms. Ardern, aggressive responses from both governments have been key to opening the travel bubble.
“I cannot see or point to any countries in the world that are maintaining a strategy of keeping their countries completely Covid-free, whilst opening up to international travel between each other,” she said.
“That means that, in a way, you know, we are world-leading,” she added.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed New Zealand’s decision, noting that the country’s border has been open to New Zealanders for almost six months.
“We have ensured that both our countries have… not suffered the same types of virus impacts that we have seen in so many other countries,” he said.
Australia has registered 909 deaths since the pandemic began more than a year ago, while New Zealand has maintained a death toll of 25. Australian travelers who want to visit New Zealand must comply with “green zone” conditions similar to those that New Zealanders face when arriving in Australia.
Anyone entering New Zealand must have spent the last 14 days before the flight in Australia only.
Those with cold or flu symptoms have not been authorized to travel, and all visitors must wear masks. Australians will also be required to give details about their staying place to the New Zealand authorities.
However, the travel arrangements could be suspended or changed if there is a COVID-19 outbreak, Ms. Ardern stated.