Jul 23, 2021 - Health

New Zealand suspends quarantine-free travel with Australia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announce that the quarantine free travel arrangement with Australia will be suspended for eight weeks.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announce that the quarantine free travel arrangement with Australia will be suspended for eight weeks. Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Friday that quarantine-free travel from Australia to New Zealand will be suspended as COVID-19 cases rise in Australia.

Why it matters: The travel bubble, which opened in April, was supposed to boost the economy and serve as a model to safely allow international travel. More than 200,000 people have utilized the quarantine-free travel bubble since April, the Washington Post reports.

  • The suspension begins Friday and will last for at least eight weeks. The prime minister said that any New Zealanders visiting Australia should return within the next seven days.
  • Only about 12% of Australia’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

What they're saying: “Now is the time for a suspension to ensure New Zealanders aren’t put at undue risk from COVID-19 and to ensure we retain our hard won gains," Ardern said in a statement.

  • "Our team of five million has worked hard to put us in a strong position both health-wise and economically. We will not risk that,” Ardern added.
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