New Zealand will not be proceeding with a quarantine-free travel zone with Australia any time soon as a coronavirus outbreak spreads in the state of Victoria, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“It will be on the back burner for several months,” she told Newshub’s AM Show on Monday. “One of our criteria is anywhere where we have quarantine-free travel they have to be free of community transmission for a period of time, 28 days. It is going to take a long time for Australia to get back to that place.”
Officials from both nations have been working toward a “trans-Tasman bubble” to stimulate tourism and help their economies recover from the pandemic. While New Zealand has no community transmission of the virus, and has so far caught and quarantined anyone infected as they arrive at the border, Victoria has gone into a second lockdown as the outbreak there shows no signs of abating.
Ardern wants to see evidence that transmission has been halted in Australia before her government signs off on the safe-travel zone. She said it is very hard to predict when that will happen, noting Australia’s numbers remain “very high at the moment.”
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