Oct 2, 2020 - World

Australia and New Zealand to open "safe travel zone"

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minster, Scott Morrison pose for a photo before a press conference held at Admiralty House on February 28, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.

Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Sydney, Australia, in February. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand have agreed to "safe travel zone" plan that will be gradually rolled out, Australian Deputy PM Michael McCormack announced Friday.

Details: McCormack said the travel "bubble" will initially see Kiwis who aren't in a COVID-19 hot spot permitted to fly to New South Wales and the Northern Territory from Oct. 16 without mandatory quarantine. But NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made clear that Kiwis will have to go into quarantine upon their return.

The big picture: NSW has had no new COVID-19 local cases for a week, and the NT has had no infections for two months. New Zealand has 11 cases after containing its second outbreak to the city of Auckland.

  • The New Zealand prime minister Jacinda will decide when Aussies may visit NZ, McCormack said. Ardern said ahead of the announcement "we're not ready to have quarantine-free travel with Australia," per TVNZ.
"Even if Australia, and we've acknowledged that they may, open up the borders one-way for New Zealanders to go in without quarantine, that doesn’t mean they won’t have to go into quarantine on return. In fact, at this stage, they will."
— Ardern

Go deeper: Polls open in New Zealand's "Covid election"

Go deeper