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New Zealand Bursts Travel Bubble With Australia as Sydney Outbreak Declared a “National Emergency”

New Zealand Bursts Travel Bubble With Australia as Sydney Outbreak Declared a “National Emergency”

New Zealand unilaterally suspended a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia on Friday as a growing COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney and New South Wales that has since “seeped” into Victoria and South Australia was declared a “national emergency”.

Quarantine-free travel from NSW had already been suspended but the New Zealand government decided on Friday to completely burst the trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia for at least eight weeks so that New Zealand can retain its “hard-won gains”.

“We’ve always said that our response would evolve as the virus evolved. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep New Zealanders safe,” a spokesperson for the New Zealand government said on Friday.

“Our team of 5 million has worked hard to put us in a strong position both health-wise and economically. We will not risk that.”

The bubble will be officially burst at 11:59 pm on Friday but New Zealanders will have seven days to return on so-called ‘green flights’. Citizens and residents returning to New Zealand from Victoria will have to self-isolate and take a test on day three after arrival, while returnees from NSW will have to go into managed hotel quarantine for 14-days.

All returnees will have to present a negative pre-departure test certificate.

The news came on the same day that Qantas confirmed that one of its crew members had tested positive for COVID-19 after working six flights over two days across Queensland.

The flight attendant last worked on 12th July and developed symptoms on13th July but did not get a COVID-19 test until several days later. Crew members that the infected flight attendant worked with are considered close contacts and have been ordered into quarantine while passengers are being asked to self-isolate and get tested.

A joint investigation by Queensland Health and Qantas Medical are underway to try to work out how the flight attendant was infected. In a statement, Qantas said it had called for flight attendants to receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In recent days, the airline’s domestic capacity has plummeted to less than 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels following the latest round of lockdowns and border closures. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce warned staff that the airline might have to stand down workers without pay if restrictions continue for a prolonged period.


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View Comment (1)
  • Places like Australia, New Zealand and Canada took a harsh isolation policy that seems to have paid off over the past 15 months however they cannot stop this pandemic forever. At this point they should have a large portion of their urban populations vaccinated yet Australia and New Zealand are only at about 13% fully vaccinated. Canada is in a much better position at over 50%. With only 13% of the population vaccinated and few that have had and recovered from Covid Australia may be in for a very rough ride over the next few months. This has been coming for them for 15 months. Hopefully, I am wrong. Take care Australia.

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