Australia and New Zealand Safe Travel Zone

The federal government has announced on 2 October 2020 a Safe Travel Zone (travel bubble) with New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand have worked together since the beginning of COVID-19. The establishment of the Safe Travel Zone will allow people to reunite with friends and families, offer opportunities for workers to get back to work and increase tourism.

In the announcement, the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Michael McCormack MP has said that ‘The Australian Government’s Department of Health has undertaken a public health risk assessment of COVID-19 in New Zealand, which indicated that New Zealand posed a low risk of COVID-19 transmission to Australia.’ As such, travellers from New Zealand will be able to travel to Australia without having to quarantine. This has begun from Friday, 16 October on the premise that travellers have not been in a COVID-19 hotspot in New Zealand in the past 14 days.

Currently, there are no COVID-19 hotspots in New Zealand. However, this is being closely monitored. The government determines the hotspot by using a three-day rolling average of three locally acquired cases per day.

To travel to Australia, the passenger must be on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand. For example, Air New Zealand has announced ‘quarantine’ and ‘quarantine-free’ flights, and we encourage that you check this before traveling.

Non-New Zealand citizens may also travel to Australia provided that they meet the requirements and have a valid visa.

After discussing the Safe Travel Zone with National Cabinet, the government has announced that the first stage of the quarantine-free travel will be with New South Wales and the Northern Territory. However, this may expand in the future.

There will be increased border security at the airport to ensure that information is collected on arrivals to assist with contact tracing if necessary.

Three flights from New Zealand arrived at Sydney Airport earlier on 16 October 2020 carrying international passengers who, for the first time in seven months, will not need to quarantine upon arrival.

There will be a total of 16 flights between the two countries each week, with Jetstar and Qantas joining Air New Zealand and Qatar Airways in advertising the trans-Tasman flights.

Related story on ABC News: Seventeen passengers from New Zealand who travelled to Sydney under the trans-Tasman bubble arrangements have been caught entering Melbourne.

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