New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the trans-Tasman bubble will be suspended to all of Australia for two months.
The travel corridor – already paused to NSW, Victoria and SA – will be halted from 10pm AEST on Friday but there will be special repatriation flights scheduled to allow Kiwis to return home.
Those returning from NSW will need to enter two weeks of hotel quarantine but those from Victoria can isolate at home. Everyone will have to obtain a negative test to fly.
It comes as NSW declared a “national emergency” as cases rose to a cluster high of 136, with speculation the lockdown could be tightened yet again in the south-west of Sydney imminently.
“My strong message to every New Zealander in Australia right now who does not want to stay there long term is – come home,” PM Ardern said.
“We’ve acted out of an abundance of caution and will continue to do so.”
Air New Zealand said minutes later that bookings had opened on available repatriations from NSW from 28 July.
“These seats will be restricted to the number of spaces available in managed isolation facilities (MIQ) rooms provided by the New Zealand government,” said the business in a statement.
“Managed return flights from Sydney will be available from Wednesday, 28 July and will operate to Auckland only. On arrival, travellers will go into MIQ for a period of 14 days. Seats available will depend on MIQ availability.”
Seats can be booked here.
The schedule will see flights depart from Sydney (flight number NZ864) on 28 July and 1, 3, 5 and 7 August.
Australian Aviation reported last week how the previous NSW ‘repatriation’ flights sold out in just 15 minutes.
New Zealand only re-started its quarantine-free trans-Tasman arrangement with much of Australia on 5 July after a shorter nationwide suspension.