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New Zealand to reopen to Australia travellers later this month

New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has confirmed a two-way travel bubble will open with Australia later this month.

Residents of both countries will be able to travel between the two without having to quarantine from April 19th.

Since October, New Zealand-based travellers have been allowed to enter most Australian states without quarantine.

However, this had not been reciprocated.

Both nations have largely contained Covid-19 outbreaks and kept infection rates near zero.

The countries shut their borders in March last year and brought in compulsory quarantine for returning nationals.

Ardern praised such aggressive responses as key to opening the travel bubble.

“I cannot see or point to any countries in the world that are maintaining a strategy of keeping their countries completely Covid-19-free, whilst opening up to international travel between each other,” she said.

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“That means that, in a way, you know, we are world-leading.”

Australia has recorded 909 deaths since the pandemic began, while New Zealand has reported 25.

Passengers travelling to New Zealand will be required to have spent the 14 days before the flight in Australia only.

Airline crews must have only worked on low-risk routes.

Those with cold or flu symptoms will not be allowed to travel, and all passengers must wear masks and give details to New Zealand authorities of where they will be staying.

Ardern said she expected most travellers taking early trips would be going to see family and friends – but added the upcoming ski season would also be an attraction.

Australia national carrier Qantas said it would resume 122 return flights to New Zealand per week once the bubble came into operation.

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