A travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been firmly placed on the backburner, says NZ Prime Minister Jacinta Arden.
Ms Ardern expressed concern about community transmission of the virus in Australia, saying it was too high to consider opening New Zealand’s borders to Australians, according to a Travel Weekly report.
She also offered support to Victorians entering a state of disaster and stage four restrictions earlier this week, saying Victoria’s situation was heartbreaking.
“It’s incredibly difficult to see our cousins over the ditch going through this,” she said.
“It’s also a message to us to continue to maintain our vigilance.”
As to when we might see the bubble created, Ms Ardern said: “Part of our criteria is anywhere we have quarantine-free travel, they have to be free of community transmission for a period of time, 28 days.
“That is going to take a long time for Australia … so that will be on the backburner for some time. Their numbers at the moment are very high.
“Dan Andrews himself said they were looking like being in that position for months, which is why they’ve gone into their lockdown.”
The New Zealand PM added that she would be happy to talk to any Australian or world leaders in need of advice or support through the lockdowns.
“Dan Andrews and those in Australia that we’ve had contact with certainly know we are available at any point to talk through all lessons learned,” she said.
“We’ve all learnt them and we’re all still learning from them.
“I have sympathy for every world leader dealing with COVID right now. It is incredibly difficult.
“There is a bit of camaraderie amongst leaders because we are all facing the challenges of economic downturn, a global financial crisis and the ongoing effects of managing the health response. It is a very tricky virus.”
While the trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand may be a while away, a link between the Cook Islands and New Zealand may be only a few weeks off.
“I imagine I at least will be able to give a set time frame within the next couple of weeks, where we can start talking about dates,” she said.
Were you planning on going to NZ once the bubble was created?
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