Australia and New Zealand have been two of the most aggressive countries in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, and it looks like we’re finally going to see a travel bubble between the two countries.
The Australia & New Zealand travel bubble
From April 19, 2021, Australia and New Zealand intend to launch a travel bubble. In reality, New Zealand residents were able to travel to most of the Australian states for a while without quarantine, although the opposite was not the case. That will finally change.
As New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern describes this step:
“I cannot see or point to any countries in the world that are pursuing a strategy of keeping their countries completely free of Covid and at the same time opening up to international travel among one another. That means we are world leaders in some ways. “
Once this starts there are no more testing requirements. This is about as free as you can find with travel arrangements that are available everywhere.
There has been talk of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand for many months, although this is the first time that such an agreement is likely to materialize.
We see both Air New Zealand and Qantas adding significant capacity between the two countries in the face of this news as the two airlines otherwise operated on a very limited schedule.
What if there are coronavirus cases?
In the event of significant coronavirus cases, this arrangement of the travel bubbles may change. Ardern states that any coronavirus outbreak in Australia “will be treated like a separate region when decisions are made about restrictions”.
In the event that multiple cases of unknown origin arise, New Zealand would likely suspend flights for a set period of time. In addition, we were able to determine a kind of test requirement in this case.
When do the countries open to the rest of the world?
The borders between Australia and New Zealand have been more or less closed since March 2020, and neither country has a specific timetable for opening it on a larger scale.
While both countries have done an excellent job treating coronavirus cases, they have not made much progress on vaccinations up to this point. New Zealand has given a total of 66,000 doses of vaccine, while Australia has given a total of 855,000 doses of vaccine.
On the one hand, the vaccine wasn’t as important to saving lives as the coronavirus was under control. On the other hand, the vaccine is essential to enable these countries to reconnect with the rest of the world.
The two countries expect a comprehensive vaccination before the borders are reopened. As of this writing, it is unlikely that either country will open in 2021.
From April 19, Australia and New Zealand will finally launch a travel bubble that will enable quarantine-free travel between the two countries. While we’ve heard this concept many times before, this is the closest thing to reality.
Of course, if we see significant numbers of cases in both countries, this might not start and the travel bubble could be suspended at any time.
Are there OMAAT readers in Australia or New Zealand looking forward to using this travel bubble?