Trans-Tasman travel: Queensland opens up to Kiwis again

Queensland will once again open its borders to Kiwi travellers from Saturday evening.
New Zealands status as a safe travel zone country will be reinstated from 6pm, the Queensland state government has announced.

It will mean those travelling on flights to the state will no longer face two weeks of quarantine when they touch down.

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The one-way travel bubble from New Zealand has been on and off with Australia given a number of recent community cases.

But todays announcement sees Queensland join Victoria and New South Wales, the two states whose borders are already open to Kiwis.

Its also good news for New Zealand travellers already in mandatory quarantine in Australia, who will be able to exit quarantine once the clock strikes midnight on Saturday as long as they have returned a negative test result.

Bob Edme/AP
Vaccines have been rolled out on both sides to the Tasman.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called it wonderful news and said it was a best-case scenario.

At the time, AHPPC discussed the need to act due to the further community transmission in New Zealand, Young said.

It was our responsibility to act cautiously. We did the right thing, and now we can look to moving forward.

Border restrictions were most recently put in place during the Papatoetoe outbreak that lead to Auckland moving into an alert level three lockdown and the rest of the country moving to level two.

In recent weeks there has been talk of a two-way travel bubble with Australia being opened up by April, signalling a return of tourists to both countries.

The Australian Government had apparently cooled on the idea of having a joint set of rules when it suddenly suspended quarantine-free travel following the Northland case of Covid-19.

That move blindsided New Zealand and angered Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, because its understood an agreed arrangement had almost been finalised in which such unilateral action would not have been possible.

Through February the Australian Government became more favourable towards each country effectively having the right to suspend travel as they see fit, opening the possibility of borders opening.

Helping the case is the vaccine rollout underway in both countries.

By the end of March New Zealand will have 50,000 of its border workers vaccinated, while across the ditch more than 200,000 Australians have already been vaccinated.

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