New Zealand and Australia team up to open a travel bubble
— 2 minute read — By Safia Bartley
On 19th April, a passenger flight from Sydney to Auckland marked the beginning of a new Trans-Tasman travel bubble, allowing quarantine free-travel between Australia and New Zealand.
Both countries have received international praise for their handling of the COVID pandemic, with New Zealand recording just 26 deaths in a population of 5 million, and Australia with a population of 25 million keeping their death toll under 1,000.
The bubble-up was initially proposed in April last year when NZ were phasing out their first lockdown, but was delayed due to additional COVID outbreaks in both countries. Following this, the scheme started partially in October, when Australia allowed New Zealand residents to fly into selected states, without needing to quarantine, and Australian residents were able to fly into New Zealand, provided they had been in the country for 14 days prior to flying.
Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison have implemented some of the strictest and most successful COVID-19 measures in the world. Australia restricted travel from China as early as 1st February 2020. New Zealand too restricted travel before a single case of coronavirus was recorded in the country, with the cancellation of large events, contact tracing and local lockdowns sometimes 4 months in duration coming soon after – all of which proved extremely successful in driving the epidemic into to the ground.
The travel bubble allows for non-essential movement between the two countries without the need to quarantine on either end. Building on their previous success, the two countries started nationwide vaccination programmes this February. They are now looking to expand the zero-quarantine scheme to other COVID-free countries in coming weeks.