WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand announced Tuesday it will open a long-anticipated travel bubble with Australia on April 19.
The start of quarantine-free travel between the neighboring nations comes as a relief to families who have been separated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as to struggling tourist operators.
Both countries have been successful in stamping out the spread of the virus.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said health officials believe the risk of the virus being transmitted from Australia is low and that travel is now safe.
“The bubble will give our economic recovery a boost and represents a world-leading arrangement of safely opening up international travel while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and keeping the virus out,” Ardern said.
Australia had previously allowed New Zealanders to arrive without going into quarantine but New Zealand had taken a more cautious approach, requiring travelers from Australia to spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival.