In news that brings a tear to our eye, New Zealand has officially suspended the Trans Tasman travel bubble.
Initially New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern only banned travel from the impacted Australian states currently in lockdown, but as of this morning the entire country has been declared an at-risk travel destination due to the rampant Delta strain.
Devastatingly the ban will be in place for eight weeks.
“We’ve acted with an abundance of caution at every turn and we’ll continue to do so,” PM Ardern said in today’s press conference. “Right now we are deploying staff from Immigration New Zealand to Australian ports to check that all travellers to New Zealand have proof of a negative pre-departure test. This means that every traveller will be stopped and checked before they can fly.”
She added that, “The Delta variant has materially changed the risk profile. We’ve seen that contact tracing alone is unable to get ahead of this variant and that restrictions are absolutely necessary to stamp it out.”
“In the view of our health officials, there is greater risk now from the Delta variant than there was when we opened the quarantine free travel arrangement with Australia. It is the government’s duty to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19 and we continue to believe that the strongest health response is also the strongest economic response.”
“Covid has changed, so we must.”
From 11:59pm tonight Australian’s will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free.
Quarantine-free travel subject to a negative COVID-19 test with the ACT, NT, Queensland, Tasmania and WA will remain open only for New Zealand citizens for a further seven days.
PM Ardern added that after the eight week ban, the government will reassess the situation in the hopes of reopening the travel bubble.
Since the quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand opened back in April more than 200,000 people have flown between the two countries.
Since we'll sticking around for a while longer, here's 50 incredible Aussie destinations to check out.
Image credit: Casey Horner