Australia-NZ bubble set for April 19

The report comes as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is scheduled to announce the date for quarantine-free travel with Australia

This travel bubble is believed to be the second in the world, after one opened up between the islands of Taiwan and Palau last week.

"If, however, a case was found that was not clearly linked to the border, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, we'd likely pause flights from that state in the same way we would stop travel into and out of a region in New Zealand as if it was going into a full lockdown".

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today, despite the fact that Australia's border has been open to New Zealanders since October.

"Our health response now gives us the opportunity to connect with loved ones again", Ms Ardern said.

Air New Zealand will also reintroduce direct services between Auckland and Perth, between Wellington, Christchurch and Sydney, and between Queenstown and Sydney.

About 1.5 million Australians used to visit New Zealand annually pre-Covid.

On April 19 there are three flights, before it drops to two flights a day on April 20 and 21, before it increases to four flights on the Thursday and five flights on Friday 23.

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The decision also ends a tortured 11-month journey from when the bubble was first agreed to its implementation.

The trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand will reopen from April 19 as both countries continue to enjoy low coronavirus cases.

Virgin Australia said it will not be operating flights to New Zealand during the bubble, citing "border requirements which add complexity to our business".

Both Australia and New Zealand have managed the Covid-19 crisis more successfully than most other developed nations after closing their global borders to non-citizens and permanent residents very early during the pandemic.

"[This travel bubble] represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other part of the world".

Ms Ardern also announced a new traffic light style system to guide Kiwis while travelling overseas, saying they may be subjected to prolonged stays in Australia or quarantine on return in the event of outbreaks.

The so-called "travel bubble" would restrict travellers from certain areas in the event of an outbreak in Australia and is expected to run on a state-by-state basis, the broadcaster said.

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