Trans-Tasman travel bubble on hold over COVID-19 Delta variant

June 27, 2021
New Zealand
Photo: Steve Creedy

The New Zealand government has paused the travel bubble with Australia for at least three days from Saturday 8:30 PM Australian Eastern Time.

The decision follows multiple cases across Australia in differing stages of containment of the Delta variant which started in New South Wales.

However, that decision was announced before the NSW government announced a two-week lockdown so it is highly likely that the Trans-Tasman bubble will be paused for at least two weeks, at least to Sydney.

The Delta variant is spreading rapidly after the NSW government failed to act quickly and decisively to lock the state down.

NZ’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told the media in a statement that pause was necessary due to the rapid spread in Australia.

“I acknowledge the frustration and inconvenience that comes with this pause, but given the high level of transmissibility of what appears to be the Delta variant and the fact that there are now multiple community clusters, it is the right thing to do to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand,” Mr. Hipkins said.

“This short pause will give us time to get a better understanding of the developing situation and to consider a range of measures to make the bubble safer, such as the possible introduction of pre-departure testing for all flights from Australia to New Zealand.”