New Zealand extends pause to travel bubble with Australia

Wellington, Sept. 17 (BNA): New Zealand announced Friday that it will keep its borders closed to Australia for at least another eight weeks, German news agency (dpa) reported.

The so-called Trans-Tasman bubble began in April and allowed Australians and New Zealanders to travel between the two countries without the need to quarantine.

However, New Zealand paused the bubble in July as its neighbor struggled to contain the outbreak of the new Covid-19 virus.

When the bubble was created, both countries had “very few recent cases” of community transmission and a similar strategy to eliminate Covid-19, said Minister for Covid-19 Response, Chris Hepkins.

Australia is struggling with several outbreaks. New South Wales had the highest number of cases and was the first part of Australia to start switching from an exclusion strategy to a vaccination strategy.

Meanwhile, New Zealand continues its efforts to contain the outbreak in Auckland, its largest city.

The travel bubble will be reviewed again in November to allow time for the country’s vaccination rates to improve.

New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, has recorded about 3,650 cases of coronavirus and 27 deaths.

Meanwhile, Australia, with a population of about 25 million, has recorded about 1,100 deaths and more than 80,000 cases since the pandemic began.

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