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New Zealand pauses travel arrangement with Australia over COVID-19 spike

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New Zealand announced on Saturday that quarantine-free travel with Australia would be paused for three days.

Citing “multiple” cases and outbreaks in Australia, the government announced that the country would take protective measures beginning Saturday night local time until 11:59 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

“This short pause will give us time to get a better understanding of the developing situation and to consider the potential implementation of a range of measures to make the bubble safer, such as the introduction of pre-departure testing for all flights from Australia to New Zealand,” tweeted New Zealand’s government.

The government said that it would continue to monitor the situation, and would review its decision on Monday.

The move comes as Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, begins a two-week lockdown as the country tries to contain an outbreak of the Delta COVID-19 variant, CNN reported. The lockdown is set to run until July 9 at 11:59 p.m. local time. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Australia has only reported 910 deaths, according to the World Heath Organization. WHO reported that that New Zealand has only had 26 deaths, and the country was praised for its coronavirus mitigation efforts early on. 

According to CNN, New Zealand and Australia had opened up their quarantine-free travel bubble in mid-April.

Tags Australia COVID-19 COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand Delta variant New Zealand New Zealand government response to the COVID-19 pandemic
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