19 Jan 2021
Despite having a lot of restrictions to ensure the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Professor Paul Kelly, Australia’s chief medical officer claimed that he is hoping that the country’s travel bubble with New Zealand would be reciprocated in the coming weeks.
The travel industry was hugely impacted by the outbreak, with most airlines grounding flights. However, the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand allows those travelling from New Zealand to Australia roam around immediately, avoiding the quarantine period. On the other hand, people travelling from Australia to New Zealand must undergo the period in self-isolation.
Australia would "welcome New Zealanders to look at our epidemiological situation and have something more reciprocal than what we have got,” Kelly affirmed, adding on that Australia was "definitely open to other bubbles".
He continued, “Weekly, I do a formal report to decide whether that should continue or not and we look at a range of details that come from the New Zealand Ministry of Health.”
"That's been very successful. We have had tens of thousands of people who have come across the ditch in the last few months and not a single case."
Once health requirements are met, New Zealand would remove the obligatory quarantine for those arriving from Australia, according to COVID-19 Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins. This is expected to take place in the first quarter of this year.
“Decisions on a commencement date will be made early this year, as conditions allow. Decisions about which states and territories can participate are matters for Australia.”
Moreover, the sector may be boosted by the vaccine rollout, as Hipkins pointed out: “The implications of vaccine rollouts for border measures is something that is still being considered and it is too soon to know exactly how these will interact with each other. But both Australia and New Zealand are actively pursuing vaccination purchase and rollout strategies and we are in close contact with each other as these progress.”