Trans-Tasman travel window closing at midnight

SunLive. Daniel Hines.

Further Government actions are balanced to provide more certainty for Kiwis wanting to return from Australia, while continuing to protect New Zealand from Covid-19, acting Minister for Covid-19 Response Ayesha Verrall says.

The actions were foreshadowed last week and as part of the earlier process of managing the return of New Zealand residents from New South Wales.

Quarantine free flights – remaining travellers urged to book a seat immediately

“When announcing a temporary suspension of the travel bubble with Australia last week, the Government provided a seven-day grace period for eligible travellers in states and territories other than New South Wales to return,” Ayesha Verrall says.

Evidence of a negative result from their Covid-19 PCR or RT-PCR pre-departure test with acceptable documentation to the specified standard is required before boarding and returnees from Victoria must also isolate at home until a negative test is returned.

If travellers cannot provide proof of a negative pre-departure test, they will not be allowed to travel.

“Agencies have been working closely with airlines and have advised that demand has dropped off in the last couple of days, with cancellations now outweighing new bookings and around 3000 seats still available.

“Extra flights have been put on where required, for example from Brisbane and Melbourne, and extra capacity has opened up on flights from Perth as people have cancelled their flights. Travellers also have the option to transit via other airports in Australia.”

Based on this advice, the window will close at 11.59pm tonight.

“We believe most eligible travellers who wish to come back have taken the necessary steps to do so and we’re urging those who might still be deciding to act immediately.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation over the coming days and consular support in Australia will be available. People are advised to register on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Safe Travel website and subscribe to the notification service on United Against Covid-19 travel website.”

Travel from New South Wales

“Managed return flights are continuing as planned from New South Wales, with travellers from the state required to spend 14 days in MIQ,” says Verrall.

“More than 1500 rooms in MIQ have so far been made available from the first two managed return phases – accommodating an estimated 2100 people, including more than 300 urgent and exceptional cases.

“Today, we’re confirming that 500 MIQ additional rooms have been allocated from contingency, between 9-22 August.

“To manage and prioritise bookings, a registration of interest process has been established for these rooms, using a form on the Unite Against COVID-19 travel website.

“This registration process will open from 10am tomorrow, Friday 30 July, and close at 2pm Tuesday 3 August, with airlines following up to arrange booking details for flights after 9 August.”

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