New Zealand government announced that from 11:59pm (NZT) July 23, Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free.
The government said that the new order will be in place for at least the next 8 weeks.
For the next 7 days there will be return green flights for New Zealanders from all states and territories, except NSW, that will require proof of a negative pre-departure test. Those who have been in NSW will still have to go into MIQ for 14 days. And those who have been in Victoria must self-isolate upon return and have a negative day 3 test.
The NZ Government is working closely with airlines to ensure there are flights available over this period, and extend it for a few days if necessary.
The decision to suspend travel follows updated public health advice from officials on the growing number of cases and locations of interest across Australia in recent days and weeks.
There are now multiple outbreaks, and in differing stages of containment, that have forced three states into lockdown. The health risk to New Zealanders from these cases is increasing.
“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.
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. 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,” said the New Zealand Government.
The Government acknowledges the frustration and inconvenience that comes with any interruption to trans-Tasman travel.
Given the high level of transmissibility of the Delta variant, and the fact that there are now multiple community clusters, it is the right thing to do to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand.
The worsening situation in New South Wales, seepage across state borders and the consistently cautious approach to prevent COVID-19 from entering the New Zealand community.
The suspension will give Australia time to manage its current outbreaks, while giving New Zealand health officials the time to monitor the situation, assess travel developments in other countries and consider different QFT settings while ensuring New Zealanders are safe.
The Government remains committed to resuming quarantine-free travel with Australia.