Arts / Wish You Were Here

How close are we to a real travel bubble with New Zealand?

New Zealand

Last week, the news broke that some parts of Australia would allow travellers from New Zealand to visit freely - without the two-week quarantine. Ostensibly creating a travel bubble between the two nations.

But in reality, this is not quite the travel bubble many of us have been hoping for.

New Zealanders will be allowed to travel to New South Wales, the ACT and to the Northern Territory quarantine-free. No other states have opened their doors just yet. South Australia is currently in negotiations and made be added to the short list of accessible destinations soon.

But it's likely that upon their return to New Zealand, travellers will still be subject to New Zealand's two-week quarantine.

The new rules will begin on October 16, but practically, the number of restrictions still in place mean it's unlikely that many travellers will be able to take advantage.

As for Australians being able to travel to New Zealand, we're still not there. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has yet to lift the two-week quarantine restrictions from anyone, anywhere entering New Zealand.

"In our view, we are not ready to have quarantine free travel with Australia," she said.

Prime Minister Ardern has been clear that she requires no community transmission of COVID-19 for at least 28 days before opening New Zealand's borders to travellers.

So at the moment, this travel bubble isn't much of a travel bubble at all. But our prospects for one in the future certainly look good.

Victoria has seemingly got a hold of its case numbers, and NSW, Australia's most populous state has had no community transmission for eight days at the time this article was written. It's certainly very likely that we'll eventually get to point where a travel bubble in earnest is possible for Australians and New Zealanders.

As for the rest of the world, while there have several suggestions and hints at potential travel bubbles with Australia, we've got nothing concrete so far. But things are looking good for a travel bubble with Singapore.

From October 8, Australians (except Victorians) will be allowed to travel to Singapore quarantine-free. It's unlikely we'll be able to take advantage in the short term since Australians still require government permission to leave the country - and we'll need to quarantine for two weeks upon our return. But it's a first promising step towards our prospects for travel in the future.

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