Wellington, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand announced on Tuesday that it will open a long-awaited travel bubble with Australia on April 19 as both countries have succeeded in stopping the epidemic of the coronavirus.
The start of a quarantine-free trip between neighboring countries will come as a relief to families and struggling travelers separated by a pandemic.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said health officials believe that the risk of getting the virus from Australia is low and travel is safe.
“The bubble represents a world-leading arrangement to safely travel abroad while boosting our economic recovery, eliminating viruses, and continuing to pursue strategies to eliminate viruses,” Ardern said. It was.
Australia previously allowed New Zealanders to arrive without quarantine, but New Zealand took a more cautious approach, requiring travelers from Australia to spend two weeks quarantine on arrival. ..
Both countries have succeeded in preventing the virus by creating barriers to the outside world, including strict quarantine requirements for travelers from countries where the virus is widespread.
The announcement preceded New Zealand’s ski season and was welcome news for many tourist destinations, including Queenstown ski resorts.
Mal Price, co-owner of The Cow Restaurant in Queenstown, said the number of customers fell by about 80% this year.
“Hallelujah. Business will come back.” “Every business has the hope of being able to survive. It was really miserable.”
Cow is one of the oldest eateries in the area since it opened over 40 years ago. Price said he stopped serving lunch on most weekdays and survived with fewer staff and less time.
He said there were thousands of Australians owning villas in areas they were anxious to visit after missing last year’s ski season.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that this is an important first step for Australia as Australia is slowly starting to return to normal.
“The fact that we can reunite means work, people reunited, and many opportunities as the normal relationship between Australia and New Zealand is restored,” he said. Told.
Morrison will soon travel to New Zealand to meet Ardern.
Ardern warned that the travel bubble had a warning. Please be careful about leaflets.
“People need to plan about the potential for travel to be interrupted in the event of an outbreak,” she said.
This means that travelers may be temporarily stuck in one of the countries or may be required to be quarantined.
The bubble will open up space in New Zealand’s quarantine facility, but the country continues its cautious approach to the virus and does not plan to increase the number of travelers it accepts from other countries.
Ardern said New Zealand is currently not considering a travel bubble with other countries, except for the Cook Islands and the small Pacific countries of Niue, which have strong constitutional ties with New Zealand.
The airline responded swiftly by announcing a significant increase in flight numbers and a drop in prices.
After five years as CEO of Wal-Mart, Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran, who started last year just as the pandemic broke out, said he was looking forward to seeing some of his new grandchildren.
“I’m certainly digging for my passport for the first time since I joined the airline and met my family across the ditch,” he said.