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New Zealand Suspends Travel Bubble With Australia

Quarantine-free travel zone on hold for at least 8 weeks as cases rise in Australia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 23, 2021 12:04 AM CDT
New Zealand Suspends Travel Bubble With Australia
People queue to receive a vaccination at the NSW Vaccine Centre at Homebush Olympic Park in Sydney, Australia.   (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

(Newser) – New Zealand on Friday suspended its quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia for at least eight weeks due to a growing COVID-19 cluster in Sydney. New Zealand had already imposed quarantine restrictions on travelers from New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia states, where lockdowns have been introduced to contain delta variant clusters. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said quarantine-free travel would be suspended from anywhere in Australia at midnight. Ardern said she hoped to have all New Zealanders who wanted to return flown home from Australia with managed flights within a week, the AP reports.

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The travel bubble has existed since April and has provided both countries with their only quarantine-free international flights. Both Australia and New Zealand have been among the most successful in the world in containing coronavirus outbreaks. But Sydney is failing to contain a cluster of the highly contagious delta variant, which has spread across the country. On Friday, New South Wales state declared an emergency over the Sydney outbreak. Authorities reported one fatality and 136 new infections in the latest 24-hour period, the biggest daily jump since the outbreak began in mid-June.

(Read more New Zealand stories.)

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