There are big things happening down under. It looks as though New Zealand and Australia, two countries with relatively low COVID-19 cases, are opening their doors to each other in the not so distant future, quarantine free. Flights that land with passengers who don’t need to quarantine are likely to begin soon.
The agreement is going to start in one direction, with New Zealanders being able to fly into Australia and explore the country without any quarantine period. It’s also starting in specific areas, with New Zealanders who haven’t been in a coronavirus hotspot in the last 14 days being able to enter, and with destinations including New South Wales and the Northern Territory.
While Australian politicians were happy to welcome their guest from New Zealand, with Chief Minister Gunner from the Northern Territory declaring that “the fish are biting and the beers are cold.”
New Zealand politicians were not as excited. Prime Minister Ardern is still applying a quarantine period to New Zealanders should they travel to Australia and return home. “We will not open the borders for quarantine-free travel with Australia until it is safe to do so because doing it too early risks losing all of the freedoms that we already have in our economy,” she said.
The Australians, however, see an expansion of the travel bubble in the works.
“This is the first stage in what we hope to see as a trans-Tasman bubble between the two countries, not just that state and that territory,” the Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.