The highly anticipated trans-Tasman “bubble” has been postponed with no new proposed date of commencement.
While the plan — which would have allowed Australian and New Zealand residents a safe passage across the Tasman Sea to travel without the need for a 14-day quarantine period either side — never had a definitive date set, there were previous goals for the scheme to start in September 2020.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cited the recent second-wave of COVID-19 infections in Victoria and clusters in other states as the reason behind her decision to delay.
Ardern said community transmission was simply too high, and that Australia would need to avoid community transmission for 28 consecutive days before she’d consider opening New Zealand’s borders.
“One of the things we said as part of our criteria was that anywhere we have quarantine-free travel, they have to be free of community transmission for a period of time, 28 days,” she said to media on Monday, August 3. “That is going to take a long time for Australia to get back to that place.”
Ardern also said the trans-Tasman bubble will now be “on the back burner for several months”.
New Zealand is reporting just two active cases of COVID-19 across the whole country currently. Australia has more than 6,500 active cases, and as of August 3, 6,489 of those active cases are in Victoria.
— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) August 2, 2020
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