New Zealand visitors break Australian travel bubble rules within days

New arrivals took domestic flights to states not part of the travel bubble

Qin Xie
Tuesday 20 October 2020 13:41 BST
New Zealand travellers have been breaching Australian travel bubble rules
New Zealand travellers have been breaching Australian travel bubble rules (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Visitors from New Zealand broke Australia’s travel bubble rules within days of it opening up, forcing states not originally part of the agreement to reluctantly sign up.

Australia, which is currently expected to be closed to international visitors until the end of 2021, recently established a one-way transtasman travel bubble with New Zealand; the first visitors arrived on Friday 16 October.

Originally, only the states of New South Wales and the Northern Territory were part of the bubble, which meant that those arriving from New Zealand wouldn’t have to quarantine.

The Australian Capital Territory is also considered part of the bubble, although there are currently no direct flights from New Zealand.

All other states required a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival, usually in a government mandated facility.

But the bubble burst within hours of the first arrivals landing, as many then hopped on domestic flights to other states.

Six flew to Tasmania, 23 went to Western Australia, 65 travelled to Victoria, 12 ended up in South Australia and two tried to enter Queensland.

Victoria, the Australian state hit hardest by Covid-19, has reluctantly joined the bubble in light of the breach.

The state’s Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference: “We are not particularly pleased that we were asked the question, do you want to be in a bubble, and it turns out that even though we said no, we are, but that is the fact of the matter, that is what we faced.

“Ultimately, we are in the bubble, whether we like it or not.”

The state’s guidance now says: “Currently the Victorian borders are open. If you are travelling from New Zealand and have passed all relevant immigration and biosecurity requirements as established by the Federal Government, New South Wales Government and Northern Territory Government, then you are able to travel to Victoria. You do not need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Victoria.”

South Australia, which had initially wanted to join the travel bubble at a later date, has decided to move this up. It means that those arriving from New Zealand will now no longer have to quarantine.

The 12 arrivals, who had been put into self-isolation at their own expense, have since been allowed to finish quarantine early, ABC reports.

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But Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have maintained that they would not be joining the travel bubble for the time being.

Western Australia said that while most of those who had entered the state had a good reason for doing so, such as for work, they hadn’t been expecting them, reports WA Today. They have all been placed into government-mandated quarantine.

Tasmania and Queensland have also placed the new arrivals into quarantine for 14 days.

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