The New Zealand authorities have announced this Friday that they will extend the closure of their borders with Australia for at least eight more weeks.
Both nations agreed in April to launch the ‘Trans-Tasman bubble’ through which Australians and New Zealanders could travel between the two countries without the need for quarantine.
However, the New Zealand Government halted this initiative in July as Australia faced a critical health situation and struggled to contain new developments.
When the bubble was established, both countries had “very few recent cases” of community transmission and a similar strategy to stop the advance of the virus, according to the New Zealand minister in charge of the plan against COVID-19, Chris Hipkins.
“This has changed significantly, which has led to our decision to suspend travel without quarantine for an additional eight weeks,” he advanced.
Australia is battling several outbreaks and even the state of New South Wales has recorded the highest number of cases and has been the first region in the country to begin to switch from an elimination strategy to a vaccination strategy.
At the same time, New Zealand continues its efforts to deal with and contain an outbreak in the country’s largest city, Auckland, located in the north of New Zealand’s North Island.
“Protecting New Zealand from any possible further spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is our top priority,” added Hipkins.
New Zealand authorities are making “great progress” in containing the Auckland outbreak and easing restrictions by a week, so “reopening non-quarantine travel with Australia at this time could put those gains at risk,” according to the Minister.
Finally, Hipkins has detailed that the travel bubble will be reviewed again in November to allow time for the country’s vaccination rates to improve.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the oceanic country, of about five million inhabitants, has registered around 3,650 coronavirus infections and 27 deaths. For its part, Australia, with 25 million inhabitants, has registered around 1,100 deaths and more than 80,000 cases.