COVID-19: Non-quarantine travel with Australia suspended for eight weeks

Cabinet had met on Thursday to discuss the state of trans-Tasman travel arrangements after New South Wales registered 124 new cases earlier in the afternoon, so it’s the highest number raised in a single day. The decision to suspend non-quarantine travel was made following updated public health advice from officials, Ardern said, based on the escalating epidemics across the ditch.

Over the next seven days, managed return flights for New Zealanders will depart from all states and territories. Travelers will need proof of a negative test prior to departure, but will not be required to enter a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility upon arrival in New Zealand – if they are flying from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, ACT and Norfolk Island.

However, those who have been to NSW will need to spend at least 14 days at MIQ. Those who have been to Victoria must self-isolate upon arrival in New Zealand and return a negative test on the third day.

After this seven day window, anyone returning from Australia will have to complete the mandatory 14 days at MIQ upon arrival.

With places in the MIQ system already extremely limited and in high demand, health officials are urging eligible New Zealanders to return home without delay.

“There are now several outbreaks, and in different stages of containment, which have forced three states to shut down. The risk to New Zealanders’ health from these cases is increasing,” Ardern said.

“We have always said that our response will evolve as the virus evolves. It is not a decision that we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep Neo safe. Zealander.

“The time has come for a suspension to ensure New Zealanders are not at undue risk of COVID-19 and to ensure that we retain our hard-earned gains. Our team of five million has been working hard to put ourselves in a strong position both in health-wise and economically, we will not take this risk.

“We have acted very carefully at every turn, and we will continue to do so.”

Hipkins said the government recognizes the frustration and inconvenience that accompanies any disruption to trans-Tasman travel.

“Considering the high level of transmissibility of the Delta variant and the fact that there are now multiple community clusters, this is the right thing to do to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand,” Hipkins said.

“The worsening situation in New South Wales, the infiltration across state borders and our ever-cautious approach to preventing COVID-19 from entering the New Zealand community, we are confident that it is is the right step to take. “

It is hoped that the eight-week suspension will give Australia time to bring its current outbreaks under control, as health officials in New Zealand monitor the situation, assess developments in other countries and consider different travel arrangements. who will ensure the safety of New Zealanders.

Ardern has confirmed that the government wants non-quarantine travel to resume.

“We remain attached to this, and when I spoke to [Australian] Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning I expressed this point of view directly. But he has to be sure. “

Non-quarantine travel from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia had already been suspended ahead of the national break, as states scramble to control their respective virus outbreaks.

However, travel from ACT, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia was still permitted.

As of Friday, 136 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in New South Wales – the highest number in a single day since the start of the epidemic. Of these, 53 were contagious while in the community.

The South Australia group also rose on Thursday after the detection of two new cases, bringing its outbreak to 14.

Earlier on Friday, Victorian health officials announced that 14 new locally acquired cases – all linked to current outbreaks – had been detected. However, 10 of the 14 cases were in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

Managed return flights

Managed return green flights – with no requirement to enter MIQ on arrival – will initially be facilitated for travelers in low to medium risk states from 11:59 p.m. on Friday July 23 to 11:59 p.m. on Friday July 30.

Travelers from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, ACT and Norfolk Island can return home on a green flight subject to public health criteria listed below. below:

  • a negative pre-departure test, performed within 72 hours of their intended trip to New Zealand

  • have not been to a place of interest in the last 14 days

  • are not symptomatic at the time of travel

  • are not a contact of a COVID-19 case.

Eligible people from Victoria – or travelers returning from other states or territories who have stayed in Victoria – may also return provided they:

  • comply with lockdown measures in Victoria

  • self-isolate upon return to New Zealand and take a test on day three

  • get to the airport wearing masks and traveling safely – not public transport.

Eligible NSW individuals will continue to return to existing managed return flights. Returnees on these flights will be required to enter MIQ for at least 14 days upon arrival in New Zealand.

Travel on all managed return flights will be limited to:

  • New Zealand citizens and residence visa holders

  • temporary visa holders and Australian citizens, who last left New Zealand after April 5, 2021

  • holders of current permanent residence visas (including a return resident visa) issued by the Australian government, who last left New Zealand after April 5, 2021

  • relevant family members of persons listed in the above categories. A relevant family member is a spouse, a civil union partner or a common-law partner, a dependent child or a parent of a dependent child. Parent, in relation to a dependent child, refers to a person for whom the child is dependent.

All travelers are urged to monitor themselves closely for any symptoms of COVID-19 after arriving in the country and to diligently maintain contact tracing records using the NZ COVID Tracer app or a other form of newspaper.

Likewise, anyone with symptoms should stay home, get tested, and remain in isolation until a negative test is returned.

For more information, visit the United Against COVID-19 website.

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