Isolation-free travel begins across Tasman

India locks down capital to battle virus as US hits vaccine milestone

Australia had previously allowed New Zealanders to arrive without going into quarantine but New Zealand had taken a more cautious method, requiring travellers from Australia to complete quarantine.

The arrangement means that for the first time since the pandemic closed borders worldwide, passengers can fly in either direction across the Tasman Sea without undergoing mandatory COVID-19 quarantine when they arrive.

Australia's travel bubble with New Zealand officially opened this morning, allowing citizens of the neighbouring nations to travel between the two countries without quarantining. They must not be awaiting the results of a Covid test, nor have any Covid symptoms, amongst other criteria.

The positive news from America-the world's hardest-hit country-comes amid easing restrictions for several European nations and the launch of a quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand.

If someone wishes to travel under the new travel bubble, the rule is that passengers must spend 14 days before departure in either Australia or New Zealand.

Dawn Tratt's voice broke a little as she spoke to me ahead of take-off in Sydney.

"My daughter has been in New Zealand since January 2020. It's weird being on a plane again", she smiled through her tears. The start of quarantine-free travel was a relief for families who have been separated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as to struggling tourist operators. "Be it returning family, friends or holiday-makers, New Zealand says welcome and enjoy yourself", Ardern said.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack also flagged early discussions were under way about establishing more travel bubbles.

The country relies on Australia for 40% of its global tourism, injecting about NZ$2.7bn (£1.4bn, $1.9bn) into the economy.

Schools in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires will open after a court overruled a federal order requiring classes go online for two weeks amid a surge in cases that has brought hospitals to near collapse.

About 1.5 million Australians visited New Zealand in 2019, the year before the pandemic closed worldwide borders, making up about 40% of all visitors, spending NZ$2.7 billion ($1.93 billion) in the country, official data showed.

Still, the leaders warned the trans-Tasman travel bubble will be under "constant review" given the risks of quarantine-free travel.

"It's like it's one big country, so it's very good to open the borders, it will help all the families", Mehat El Masri said as he waited to see his Sydney-based son Shady for the first time in 16 months. Strict border controls and snap lockdowns are among the measures that have kept infection rates low.

Australia has 29,533 confirmed cases, including 910 deaths, while New Zealand has just 2,596 cases with only 26 deaths, setting the template for coronavirus response efforts, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.



Latest news

Ontario walks back new police powers following backlash
Outdoor gatherings are restricted to members of the same household - though people who live alone can join another household. Motorists approaching the interprovincial borders, in either direction, are asked to be prepared for slow-moving traffic.

3 adults fatally shot in Austin, no suspect in custody: EMS
And in the two weeks after, six died in an apparent familicide in Texas and seven in a SC attack, including the gunmen. On Sunday, police swarmed the area searching for 41-year-old Stephen Broderick , who is considered armed and risky .

Will You Need a Booster Shot of the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Existing vaccines seem to work well on the variants, with one exception: the South African variant. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday.

Police identify the 8 people killed at FedEx facility in Indianapolis
Johal later made a decision to grab her check and go home, and still had the check in her hand when police found her, Komal said. Satjeet Kaur, the Sikh Coalition's executive director, said the entire community was traumatised by the "senseless" violence.

Fears Indian Covid variant could ‘scupper’ UK reopening plans
When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking. Downing Street has defended leaving India off the hotel quarantine list and said the register is "under constant review".

Other news