Quarantine-Free Travel Starts Between Australia and New Zealand

Jessica Wong

People embrace as they are reunited at Auckland International Airport on April 19. Photographer: Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg Photographer: Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg For a fresh perspective on the stories that matter for Australian business and politics, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Australia and New Zealand on Monday started their first quarantine-free flights since […]

Photographer: Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg

For a fresh perspective on the stories that matter for Australian business and politics, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Australia and New Zealand on Monday started their first quarantine-free flights since the pandemic began, after they successfully halted Covid-19 transmissions from spreading through their nations.

The flights reflect “a world-leading arrangement that opens up travel while aiming to keep Covid-19 out of the community,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern said in a joint statement. Before Monday, travelers between the nations were required to quarantine for at least two weeks upon arrival, usually in hotels designated to receive overseas arrivals.

Still, Australia’s government — which is battling criticism over delays in its vaccination strategy — hasn’t been willing to commit to any timeline for it might begin relaxing restrictions on travel to or from other nations.

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In one of the world’s first experiments in reopening borders, the first quarantine-free flight from Australia landed in New Zealand on Monday, reciprocating a half-bubble in place since October that allowed New Zealand visitors to fly the other way. The separation has been keenly felt because the two countries normally […]