Australia and New Zealand started travel bubble
Travelers from Australia and New Zealand have been able to travel freely between both countries since Monday and do not have to be quarantined afterwards. Both Australia and New Zealand have largely contained the corona epidemic with strict policies and the complete closure of the border. With the reopening of the border, the countries want to make travel between Australia and New Zealand easier.
At airports in Sydney (Australia) and Auckland (New Zealand) there were lines of people waiting for their relatives and friends on Monday. Thousands of people are expected to board a plane on Monday.
“It is the first time in 400 days that people have been able to travel quarantine-free. We have added 16 daily flights to New Zealand and they are all full,” said Alan Joyce, president of the Australian airline Qantas. ABC.
Qantas will fly back and forth to New Zealand 200 times a week from Monday. Air New Zealand is quadrupling its capacity to thirty daily flights between the two countries.
Australia and New Zealand also plan to open travel bubbles with other low-risk countries in the future, such as Singapore and Taiwan.
Australia and New Zealand are closely linked
The open borders should boost both countries’ economies and reunite thousands of people with families, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a joint statement on Monday. The strict rules continue to apply to travelers from other countries.
The two countries are closely linked economically and historically. For example, in 2019, before the start of the pandemic, about 1.5 million Australians traveled to New Zealand. These accounted for 2.7 billion New Zealand dollars (1.6 billion euros) in revenue. In addition, more than half a million New Zealanders live in Australia.
Since October, New Zealand travelers have been allowed to travel to most Australian states without having to quarantine afterwards, but this was not the reverse for Australians. New Zealand feared sporadic corona outbreaks and required a quarantine period.
In Australia, 29,500 infections have been diagnosed and 910 people have died from the effects of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. New Zealand had 2,200 infections and 26 corona deaths.