Finally: Australia & New Zealand Launch Quarantine-Free Travel Bubble

Finally: Australia & New Zealand Launch Quarantine-Free Travel Bubble

49

Australia and New Zealand have been two of the most aggressive countries when it comes to managing the coronavirus pandemic, and it looks like we’ll finally see a travel bubble between the two countries rolled out.

The Australia & New Zealand travel bubble

As of April 19, 2021, Australia and New Zealand intend to launch a travel bubble. In reality, residents of New Zealand have been able to travel to most Australian states quarantine-free for a while, though the inverse hasn’t been true. That will finally be changing.

As New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern describes this move:

“I cannot see or point to any countries in the world that are maintaining a strategy of keeping their countries completely Covid-free, whilst opening up to international travel between each other. That means that, in a way, you know, we are world-leading.”

Once this is launched there will be no testing requirement, so this is about as free as you’ll find travel arrangements to be anywhere.

There has been talk of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand for many months, though this is the first time that such an agreement seems to be likely to come to fruition.

We’re seeing both Air New Zealand and Qantas add a significant amount of capacity between the two countries in light of this news, as the two airlines have otherwise been operating a very limited schedule.

What happens if there are coronavirus cases?

In the event of significant coronavirus cases, this travel bubble arrangement could change. Ardern states that any coronavirus outbreak in Australia would be treated the same “as a region of our own when making decisions on restrictions.”

In the event that multiple cases of an unknown origin emerge, New Zealand would likely suspend flights for a set period of time. Furthermore, we could see some sort of a testing requirement in that event.

When will the countries open to the rest of the world?

The borders of Australia and New Zealand have more or less been closed since March 2020, and neither country has a concrete timeline for when it will open up on a larger scale.

While both countries have done an amazing job with managing coronavirus cases, they haven’t made much progress with vaccinations up until this point. New Zealand has administered a total of 66,000 vaccine doses, while Australia has administered a total of 855,000 vaccine doses.

On the one hand, the vaccine hasn’t been as important in terms of saving lives, given how under control coronavirus has been. On the other hand, the vaccine is vital to allowing these countries to reestablish connections with the rest of the world.

The two countries are counting on widespread vaccination before reopening borders. At this point it seems unlikely that either country will open in 2021.

Bottom line

As of April 19, Australia and New Zealand are finally launching a travel bubble, allowing quarantine-free travel between the two countries. While we’ve heard this concept thrown around many times before, this is the closest this has been to becoming a reality.

Of course this might not launch if we see a significant number of cases in either country, and for that matter the travel bubble could be suspended at any time.

Any OMAAT readers in Australia or New Zealand looking forward to taking advantage of this travel bubble?

Conversations (49)
Newest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Richard Macdonald

    @George, have you visited New Zealand? We have had an amazing summer living a "new normal" life. We are free to visit other countries, but have hotel quarantine on return for 14 days ( which you pay for). On April 19th Australians can arrive quarantine free, most of Australia has accepted Kiwis quarantine free since October 16th 2020.
    Sadly both Australia and New Zealand have been slow to roll out C-19 vaccine.

  2. Florian

    We should all remember as readers of this blog that we are the 1%, not the 99%. Whilst I’ve been a bit frustrated not being able to leave Oz (or sometimes not even my own state), the vast vast majority of Australians support the measures - as rough as my Melbourne friends had it last year. State borders still open and shut as COVID seeps in from places not as good at controlling it as...

    We should all remember as readers of this blog that we are the 1%, not the 99%. Whilst I’ve been a bit frustrated not being able to leave Oz (or sometimes not even my own state), the vast vast majority of Australians support the measures - as rough as my Melbourne friends had it last year. State borders still open and shut as COVID seeps in from places not as good at controlling it as here. Travelling to NZ will be exciting, and broaden our horizons a bit... but having said that I will be booking everything refundable, as no one really trusts the borders to remain open!

  3. KiwiSam

    All those people calling NZ a prison need to do a little research. We've been free to leave the country the whole time, there's no requirement for an exit visa. Obviously if you want to come back you need to get a spot in MIQ but that's manageable if you're organised. A close (but clearly insane) friend of mine spent 6 weeks in the Caribbean in Nov/Dec before returning to NZ a couple of days before Christmas last year.

  4. Shaun T

    Yesterday, I returned from a week-long holiday in another city in NZ, and then went about to doing some shopping in a crowded city supermarket. After hearing about the bubble opening I booked my flight from Auckland to Sydney, went for a nice dinner in a busy restaurant, and then hung out in a bar for a few hours. Did all of this with virtually zero risk or fear that I would catch anything.

    ...

    Yesterday, I returned from a week-long holiday in another city in NZ, and then went about to doing some shopping in a crowded city supermarket. After hearing about the bubble opening I booked my flight from Auckland to Sydney, went for a nice dinner in a busy restaurant, and then hung out in a bar for a few hours. Did all of this with virtually zero risk or fear that I would catch anything.

    However, I had to scan 3-4 QR codes on my phone, chose to use hand sanitiser thrice, and they made me wear a mask for a one hour flight!! It felt *sooooo* oppressive, simply hell on earth. What wouldn't I give to go to places like USA to experience real "freedom".

  5. [email protected]

    @wanna travel, you are exactly the reason why we need the nanny state here in oz. You think you should be free to go to concerts and travel around freely because if you get Covid you won’t die. You completely miss the point. You can kill other people in the process. It’s because of that attitude that your states’s premier Anastasia has kept you under lock and key. And she was easily re-elected in the...

    @wanna travel, you are exactly the reason why we need the nanny state here in oz. You think you should be free to go to concerts and travel around freely because if you get Covid you won’t die. You completely miss the point. You can kill other people in the process. It’s because of that attitude that your states’s premier Anastasia has kept you under lock and key. And she was easily re-elected in the process. Obviously your neighbors wisely out voted you. Stay home, and stop whinging.

  6. Philip Elliott

    A lot of us readers link vaccination = " right to travel internationally".
    Any government would rub its hands in glee. Wow, a new vaccination levy to add to the list of taxes on international tickets. Yum!
    Let's wait and see what taxes and levies they can come up with to tax international travellers. Vaccines have to be paid for by somebody, don't they? They aren't "free"

    Next stop is international travel insurance....

    A lot of us readers link vaccination = " right to travel internationally".
    Any government would rub its hands in glee. Wow, a new vaccination levy to add to the list of taxes on international tickets. Yum!
    Let's wait and see what taxes and levies they can come up with to tax international travellers. Vaccines have to be paid for by somebody, don't they? They aren't "free"

    Next stop is international travel insurance. Did anyone buy it lately? Was the price and list of exclusions a surprise? I found it quite surprising and glad I was sitting down.

    I'd suggest the future reality of international travel might see price rises and tax rises.

    Sure it would be nice to go to NZ from here but Tasmania offers a far cheaper alternative.

    I see a lot of complaints about vaccination rollout. My partner Hugh couldn't get a morning appointment last Wednesday . We had to go in the afternoon. Then we did our shopping at Aldi and Kmart. All rather mundane.

  7. Bells

    I'm on the first flight out of Sydney (NZ246). Looking forward to seeing elderly grandparents (+ the rest of my family) after a year!

  8. Josh

    It's terrible living on this prison island. Last week, I took my elderly parents to a packed Chinese restaurant and saw Hamilton with 2,000 other laughing, cheering theatregoers. Rescue us.

  9. ifpikad

    What I don’t get about this debate every time it happens is that there seems to be some assumption that it is your god-given right to travel and have freedom of movement. It’s not.

    Your country of citizenship grants you permission to travel, it’s called a passport. You are not entitled to one. On the flip side you are not just entitled to go anywhere you want, the country you want to enter has...

    What I don’t get about this debate every time it happens is that there seems to be some assumption that it is your god-given right to travel and have freedom of movement. It’s not.

    Your country of citizenship grants you permission to travel, it’s called a passport. You are not entitled to one. On the flip side you are not just entitled to go anywhere you want, the country you want to enter has to grant you a visa, even if it is Visa on Arrival and you barely noticed it happening at an electronic entry point.

    We’re are not being denied “freedoms and rights” they have just rescinded permission temporarily.

    That being said, I would like a refund for two years of my “locked” Aussie passport because omg they are so expensive. I didn’t realise until I was having a whinge while renewing and a Swede, a Brit and an American were scandalised by how much I had to pay. Turns out it’s one of the most expensive in the world so at least they could credit us the proportional amount that it’s been deactivated for hahaha, but seriously.

  10. haz

    I've booked from Australia to NZ in the 2nd week of opening. Flight times aren't as great as they used to be but are still quite good (~70% of flights back). It's also nice to see a Qantas A330 on the SYD-CHC route however nothing compares to the EK A380 that previously operated.

    I find the comments on here rather amusing. I don't think my freedoms have been removed... Over the past year, I've flown...

    I've booked from Australia to NZ in the 2nd week of opening. Flight times aren't as great as they used to be but are still quite good (~70% of flights back). It's also nice to see a Qantas A330 on the SYD-CHC route however nothing compares to the EK A380 that previously operated.

    I find the comments on here rather amusing. I don't think my freedoms have been removed... Over the past year, I've flown all around the country without the need to wear a mask (you only need to since Jan 2021), went to music concerts, enjoyed packed bars, full self serve breakfast buffets at hotels, and all in the process not worried if the person next to me will drop dead next week or give me COVID.

  11. glenn t

    In light of the again-announced travel bubble for Australia/NZ (hope it doesn't pop before it gets going) I'm wondering what Qantas' position is re vaccinations for would-be international passengers.
    Some may recall that Qantas CEO Alan Joyce a while ago announced that all international travellers on Qantas would need to be vaccinated against Covid-19; something I would personally support.
    Needless to say, there was a degree of pushback from the usual suspects, and...

    In light of the again-announced travel bubble for Australia/NZ (hope it doesn't pop before it gets going) I'm wondering what Qantas' position is re vaccinations for would-be international passengers.
    Some may recall that Qantas CEO Alan Joyce a while ago announced that all international travellers on Qantas would need to be vaccinated against Covid-19; something I would personally support.
    Needless to say, there was a degree of pushback from the usual suspects, and AFAIK there is no firm policy on this issue. As AUS/NZ travel is (just) international travel, Qantas needs to step up and provide clarity since travel will start in less than 2 weeks.
    As I see it, no-one will be fully vaccinated at that time except those lucky few who finagled a Pfizer shot, with just a 3 week interval between shots. (Not unsurprisingly that cohort is heavy with politicians, Health Dept. honchos, and some, ahem, Important People.) Everyone who are getting the heavily promoted AstraZeneca vaccine (Cheap 'n Easy) has to wait 12 weeks between shots, and a couple of weeks extra for full effectiveness to kick in.
    Due to the Australian Government's shambolic roll-out of the vaccines (mustn't talk about Pfizer though) only a miniscule percentage of Australians have to date got a first shot of anything. Lies and obfuscation about availability are on a Trumpian scale.

  12. Morgan

    Yayyyyyy!!!! I am so excited to travel to NZ again, and as someone who lives in Perth excited for a nice long plane flight!!!

  13. Happykiwi

    @George

    It's certainly tough living in the most free country in the world (measured scientifically by the Cato freedom index rather than by internally propaganda, in which case USA rules of course) but somehow we make it work

  14. Commenting Commenter

    Wow… @AG! These are the most powerful words in your message: "This isn’t Big Government controlling our civil liberties. It’s 25+ million people coming together for the greater good and out of concern for others, not just themselves. It’s a lesson America would greatly benefit from.

    Do I miss seeing my family and friends overseas? Sure thing. Are there life events I’ve missed? Absolutely. But my needs are not greater or different than anyone else’s, so...

    Wow… @AG! These are the most powerful words in your message: "This isn’t Big Government controlling our civil liberties. It’s 25+ million people coming together for the greater good and out of concern for others, not just themselves. It’s a lesson America would greatly benefit from.

    Do I miss seeing my family and friends overseas? Sure thing. Are there life events I’ve missed? Absolutely. But my needs are not greater or different than anyone else’s, so in the interim I’ll enjoy the safety and freedom I enjoy in this incredible country."

    Well said! But Americans don't understand this kind of English. In one ear, out the other with a rolling eyes emoji.

  15. MDA

    I live in Melbourne. We did it tough. To hear people talk of freedom is hysterical. Children, even in Melbourne have been back at school since September last year. We only have to wear masks on planes and in Melbourne, on public transport. Gosh in Melbourne we are only allowed 100 people in our house at once! How are we supposed to cope with that?
    As for tourism, both Sydney and Melbourne city hotels...

    I live in Melbourne. We did it tough. To hear people talk of freedom is hysterical. Children, even in Melbourne have been back at school since September last year. We only have to wear masks on planes and in Melbourne, on public transport. Gosh in Melbourne we are only allowed 100 people in our house at once! How are we supposed to cope with that?
    As for tourism, both Sydney and Melbourne city hotels are doing it tough. Still low occupancy. Regional travel Is booming though. Luxury hotels are pretty much booked out this year.
    I am both lucky and taking a risk. I have Sal Salis booked, Bamarru plains and Safire Freycinet booked plus a number of less expensive places. Currently I am in Perth. Seriously- what pandemic? WA has by far been the strictest state. They are geographically large and had to protect their large and remote indigenous communities- which they did a great job of. If anyone is questioning whether West Australians agree with it, you just need to look at the recent election results (no fraud or insurrections).
    Would I love to travel internationally? Absolutely- I cancelled a 4 month holiday.

    Due pre existing health conditions, I have been fortunate to have my first vaccine. The rollout of the vaccine in Australia has been appalling.

  16. dee

    George and Dennis..Socialism-Isolated in A and NZ..Just like in New York/New Jersey/CT/RI/Calif/and many other liberal cities and states...keeping the taxpayers down at Government whim..tho the mayors and governors did whatever they wanted !!Do as I say--Not as I Do...

  17. Davar

    As an Australian, I'm glad I live in a country where individual sacrifice for the wellbeing of friends, neighbours and community is valued.

  18. AG

    As an American in Australia for the past 8+ years, I can tell you that the Australian and New Zealand approach to managing COVID has been incredible. Feeling unwell? Visit a testing pop-up clinic (Government run) and get your results within 8 hours. We effectively have no community transmission, our schools are open, the economy and housing markets are incredibly strong, and domestic (and soon to be reciprocal) tourism is booming.

    For the most part...

    As an American in Australia for the past 8+ years, I can tell you that the Australian and New Zealand approach to managing COVID has been incredible. Feeling unwell? Visit a testing pop-up clinic (Government run) and get your results within 8 hours. We effectively have no community transmission, our schools are open, the economy and housing markets are incredibly strong, and domestic (and soon to be reciprocal) tourism is booming.

    For the most part we’ve not had to wear masks, we’ve had indoor dining/bars/restaurants/venues open. I’m going to see Hamilton this week in a fully packed theatre. We have secure, centralised QR-code checkins everywhere for rapid contact tracing.

    This isn’t Big Government controlling our civil liberties. It’s 25+ million people coming together for the greater good and out of concern for others, not just themselves. It’s a lesson America would greatly benefit from.

    Do I miss seeing my family and friends overseas? Sure thing. Are there life events I’ve missed? Absolutely. But my needs are not greater or different than anyone else’s, so in the interim I’ll enjoy the safety and freedom I enjoy in this incredible country.

  19. Wanna Travel

    I live in Brisbane and we have had some of the most oppressive domestic border closures in the country. No one feels safe booking a holiday even within Australia because the state premiers will shut out all residents of any state which gets even one case of Covid (leaked out through the equally oppressive hotel quarantine program. Or is you happen to be in another state you could be stuck in hotel quarantine at the...

    I live in Brisbane and we have had some of the most oppressive domestic border closures in the country. No one feels safe booking a holiday even within Australia because the state premiers will shut out all residents of any state which gets even one case of Covid (leaked out through the equally oppressive hotel quarantine program. Or is you happen to be in another state you could be stuck in hotel quarantine at the drop of a at because they apply restrictions retroactively. Example: Melbourne people fly to Queensland for a beach holiday. Covid is found in QLD. Either you can't go home to Melbourne on time. Or you could be literally on the plane and think you are ok, then when you land you discover the rules changed and off to quarantine regardless of your own personal health. And there is nothing you can do as an individual to prevent this. We have a domestic flight tomorrow. We have been staying home as much as possible because we don't want to be connected with any potential "close contact" location. Example: Covid case is discovered by contact tracers to have eaten at ABC Restaurant between 6-8pm. You just happened to be eating there too. Boom! Get tested and stay at home for 14 day regardless of the results! Holiday plans kaput! A music festival in Byron Bay, NSW was cancelled because ONE man caught Covid from a group of ladies at a hens party in the same pub. Millions of $ from the promoters/musicians lost and thousands of people who travelled all over the country to attend left with useless tickets (which will be refunded, but trip in vain).

    So I don't feel safe and free here to live a "normal" life. I would rather just get the damn virus, worst case scenario for me would probably 2 crappy weeks then some degree of natural immunity. Given my medical history I would probably be asymptomatic. I rarely even get a cold or the flu. But better in my view than this instability and lack of freedom we have now! I am desperate to travel overseas. I can take care of myself and be socially distant in circumstances that require it. I can stay at home when necessary to avoid messing up a future trip or upon returning from a trip until I get tested. I am 60 years old, not "vulnerable" but not a spring chicken. I want to make my own choices and I can be socially responsible at the same time. I don't want a effing nanny!!

    And yes, the vaccine rollout here is a joke! I think we MAY have passed Rwanda in international vaccines last time I looked?

  20. Philip Elliott

    2/3 of the the amount spent on tourism is domestic tourism in Australia. Australians used to spend more internationally on tourism than locally. International arrival tourism isn't a big part of the overall Australian gdp. At present, Australians only spend locally, so the local economy gets a covid boost. Ironic, but it is as it is.

    The economy is doing better here now than pre covid.

    Similar situation in USA. Limited possibility to travel internationally,...

    2/3 of the the amount spent on tourism is domestic tourism in Australia. Australians used to spend more internationally on tourism than locally. International arrival tourism isn't a big part of the overall Australian gdp. At present, Australians only spend locally, so the local economy gets a covid boost. Ironic, but it is as it is.

    The economy is doing better here now than pre covid.

    Similar situation in USA. Limited possibility to travel internationally, so local economy gets a tourism boost. It is what it is.

    The chest thumping of saying people are prisoners and locked in applies to Europe, not Australia, NZ and USA.

    NZ used to enjoy 40% of total tourism spend from Australian arrivals. Tourism used to be a big money earner . Now their economy looks like falling into recession. The Adern government has to open borders out of economic necessity.

    Australia and USA have no economic necessity to allow international tourism growth. For USA and Australia, international tourism is something we desire, but not a necessity. It is a necessity for NZ or they will fail economically.

  21. dave

    The science is settled. New Zealand has shown the way to zero covid. The Biden administration has decided that some level of deaths are acceptable - unfortunately it appears the trend is towards more deaths with at least one mutation likely responsible for an increase. I get that red state governors would not listen to Biden. But there is nothing stopping him from stopping all international travel with the exception of mandatory quarantine for returning...

    The science is settled. New Zealand has shown the way to zero covid. The Biden administration has decided that some level of deaths are acceptable - unfortunately it appears the trend is towards more deaths with at least one mutation likely responsible for an increase. I get that red state governors would not listen to Biden. But there is nothing stopping him from stopping all international travel with the exception of mandatory quarantine for returning citizens. Blue states could also ban interstate travel from areas of high infection. Not sure if Biden is beholden to donors such as airlines, fears an economic crash or thinks many democrats wont accept such closures just as republicans won't. In any event Biden owns these deaths.

  22. [email protected]

    For those of you who think Australia is a police state, please don’t ever come here. Even after the borders open. We don’t need you, your diseases or your money. We make plenty of cash digging up dirt...coal, iron, gold, nickel, gemstones, which we can ship to you all. We place a much greater emphasis on the value of human life over so-called “freedoms and rights”, which are actually just privileges and inequalities. Nobody here...

    For those of you who think Australia is a police state, please don’t ever come here. Even after the borders open. We don’t need you, your diseases or your money. We make plenty of cash digging up dirt...coal, iron, gold, nickel, gemstones, which we can ship to you all. We place a much greater emphasis on the value of human life over so-called “freedoms and rights”, which are actually just privileges and inequalities. Nobody here wants to die just so some cashed up yank can have fun and feel free. Stay home, go to Mexico, or just watch your neighbors die. But don’t come here.

  23. Commenting Commenter

    @george and @jamie, get a grip. As @snic rightly pointed out, most people don't travel or leave their country, ever! And they're very content doing so until the day they die, and if they travel, they do so regionally. It's not the end of the world and a non-issue for most. It's just likely the opposite—that you are unable to stay put in one place or control yourself or make sacrifices. Not that you don't...

    @george and @jamie, get a grip. As @snic rightly pointed out, most people don't travel or leave their country, ever! And they're very content doing so until the day they die, and if they travel, they do so regionally. It's not the end of the world and a non-issue for most. It's just likely the opposite—that you are unable to stay put in one place or control yourself or make sacrifices. Not that you don't want to, but rather that you're actually incapable of.

    I'm loving that no one is really desperate for Americans to come to their country or for the rest of the world to go and visit the US, and that tourism from US dollars is not really critical. After all, the US has proven that it's really not much different from a third world country. The American dream and way of life is just a façade. Take off the veil and the Benjamins, and it all falls apart.

  24. Leigh

    @Ed, I’ve been mystified by the slow vaccine rollout in AU as well.

    An American, but I have a ton of close friends in AU because of the industry I’m in, so I just feel good for the Aussies and the Kiwis with this news. Yeah, there will most likely be snap closures, but not likely long or too complicated. I’m very happy for industry friends who will also benefit by the reopening.

  25. Ed

    @jamie on a thread about Australia you can write “ There is no straight line from border closings to reduced mortality.”

    Australian an New Zealand show that there is a straight line from border closure to reduced mortality, that runs through hotel quarantine and strictly enforced lockdowns. (And a population. That loves obeying rules)

    The evidence is clear. Australia had its first COVID death all year yesterday and it was a 77 year old man...

    @jamie on a thread about Australia you can write “ There is no straight line from border closings to reduced mortality.”

    Australian an New Zealand show that there is a straight line from border closure to reduced mortality, that runs through hotel quarantine and strictly enforced lockdowns. (And a population. That loves obeying rules)

    The evidence is clear. Australia had its first COVID death all year yesterday and it was a 77 year old man who’d been brought from PNG for treatment.

    COVID can be brought under control if people stop moving around and interacting with each other. Yes border closures are hard, yes lockdowns are hard, but millions of avoidable deaths is a lot worse. If western values is letting people die needlessly then I want no part of it.

    Now where Australia is failing is in the slow motion car crash of a vaccine rollout, that has its roots in a federal government that was too slow about this last year and is spending its energy right now on spreading blame around rather than fixing anything.

  26. Mike

    Am surprised by all the negative comments on the Aust and NZ lockdowns. Best thing that could have happened. Like most Australians I've travelled the world and COVID has been sort of a blessing. Our lockdown has saved many lives and it's great to travel and see what's in your own backyard - incredible history and nature. Am really keen to see more. Everyone I know is hitting the road and spending their money here...

    Am surprised by all the negative comments on the Aust and NZ lockdowns. Best thing that could have happened. Like most Australians I've travelled the world and COVID has been sort of a blessing. Our lockdown has saved many lives and it's great to travel and see what's in your own backyard - incredible history and nature. Am really keen to see more. Everyone I know is hitting the road and spending their money here and not overseas. Honestly, the world doesn't admire the USA or Europe anymore; we pity them.

  27. Jamie Simons

    @andrew ok a few facts please. There is no straight line from border closings to reduced mortality. There is no evidence that this has worked anywhere. We won’t know this till every border is open and there are apple to apple comparisons. The US isn’t even in the top ten for deaths per million. In fact some of the countries that are had much stricter border policies than the US. Also if you want to...

    @andrew ok a few facts please. There is no straight line from border closings to reduced mortality. There is no evidence that this has worked anywhere. We won’t know this till every border is open and there are apple to apple comparisons. The US isn’t even in the top ten for deaths per million. In fact some of the countries that are had much stricter border policies than the US. Also if you want to call yourself a “free country” then denying someone to see their dying parents probably makes you something else. Closing borders has a huge, enormous cost that will be paid back over decades, not years. Deaths are horrible (obviously) and should be avoided, but the government not letting its own citizens out of the county is corrosive and over time will lead to a place that is the antithesis of western values.
    Also, it’s a little arrogant to think ANZ with the vaccine is totally out of the woods and that these populations aren’t still highly vulnerable. Nobody knows how this will play out , but based on history, I’d rather have gone through the pain (developing natural antibodies) and come out the other end, than totally rely on a vaccine that’s been around for 6 months.
    Border closings are the Diet Coke of the pandemic. Tastes great but will still make you fat.

  28. henrryLAX

    @George : while i don't disagree with your perspective, Aussie and NZ are hardly the worst islands to be trapped inside.

    If those are soul crushing, imagine how people in Singapore feel ?

    5.7 million inside an island smaller than San Jose CA.

  29. Andrew

    @Jamie

    Small pox, Polio, syphilis, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, typhoid fever, bubonic plague, Scarlett fever, typhus, and plenty of others. I would say we have a pretty good track record against Mother Nature. We already have working vaccines against covid and they’re modifying them to the new strains as needed. Half a million deaths in the US doesn’t have to be inevitable. That’s crazy talk with our science and technology.

  30. Kevin

    Wow people here are so hilarious to be honest.... feeling like a prisoner in your own country? Wow you must not have been living in the USA where you can’t go back to the bars, clubs, etc without social distancing and masks and having multiple lockdowns because we’ve had multiple spikes....

    It takes some type of privilege to be had with 550k deaths.... it’s like the same people not wearing masks who are ruining our...

    Wow people here are so hilarious to be honest.... feeling like a prisoner in your own country? Wow you must not have been living in the USA where you can’t go back to the bars, clubs, etc without social distancing and masks and having multiple lockdowns because we’ve had multiple spikes....

    It takes some type of privilege to be had with 550k deaths.... it’s like the same people not wearing masks who are ruining our individual freedoms in the US. Lol. Like neglecting that 550k people have died so far and making COVID not seem like a big deal... it’s like why do we put so much emphasis on 9/11 and terrorism then when so much fewer people have died? Lmao a ludicrous argument on 9/11 you would say but then the same could be drawn for COVID

    Lol I’m sure the people in Australia and NZ are laughing in their “prisons” while they’re out clubbing and having musical festivals lol

  31. Mike C

    'I can already feel this “bubble” popping very quickly. All it takes is 1 case and the whole thing pops! Considering the catastrophic situation outside of Oceania I think it is far too early to be having a bubble with any country in the world!'

    @Phil, the prospect of the bubble popping is a very real one, but one, I think, that has been thought through. Within Australia we have had state border controls that...

    'I can already feel this “bubble” popping very quickly. All it takes is 1 case and the whole thing pops! Considering the catastrophic situation outside of Oceania I think it is far too early to be having a bubble with any country in the world!'

    @Phil, the prospect of the bubble popping is a very real one, but one, I think, that has been thought through. Within Australia we have had state border controls that have been turned on and off as hot spots of Covid cases have occurred (and lockdowns have been imposed within states or cities). What Aotearoa seems to be doing is replacing the hard border with Australia with participation in that region by region set of restrictions. If there is a problem in Brisbane then flights there would be affected, and likewise if there were a problem in Auckland, Australian states would restrict travel there but not to Wellington or Christchurch.

    I continue to be amused by [presumably] Americans railing against the loss of liberty we are having imposed on us. We see what is happening elsewhere. Most of us don't travel except to go to a beach. We used to go to Bali or Phuket, but we have beaches here and people are going to them in droves. Domestic destinations are sold out (well some of them), and adding NZ to the mix will allow people in both countries to broaden their horizons. Of course some Australians think they are being oppressed, but most of us don't. We're more concerned that the government seems to be failing on vaccine delivery than with the borders being closed.

    I want to go to the US and the UK again but I can't. I have some dear friends in both countries but I'm not sure that I think either is safe just now.

  32. Jamie

    @Andrew I guess you hope that the vaccines work against every variant, right? Also, I guess you hope that natural antibodies don’t give a level of protection not afforded by the vaccines. You also hope your benevolent masters let you out based on the two prior hopes. Also, you hope that the world hasn’t forgotten you and still wants to come visit/invest in your country (see Chinese). You also hope there’s no COVID 22 or...

    @Andrew I guess you hope that the vaccines work against every variant, right? Also, I guess you hope that natural antibodies don’t give a level of protection not afforded by the vaccines. You also hope your benevolent masters let you out based on the two prior hopes. Also, you hope that the world hasn’t forgotten you and still wants to come visit/invest in your country (see Chinese). You also hope there’s no COVID 22 or COVID 23 to start the process all over again. Listen my point is that this is Mother Nature. Man rarely wins against her. So at some point you have to pay the piper. To think shutting your borders and taking away the freedom of citizens to see their dying parents or enter their own country is a Faustian bargain that history will look very dimly on. Also, now of course the precedent is set so expect governments to do this a lot more in the future. Freedom with an asterisk is not freedom.

  33. Phil

    I can already feel this “bubble” popping very quickly. All it takes is 1 case and the whole thing pops! Considering the catastrophic situation outside of Oceania I think it is far too early to be having a bubble with any country in the world!

  34. Andrew

    @Jamie and Alex_77W

    There are vaccines now. It's not pushing the problem down the road. It's waiting until they have enough people vaccinated to have herd immunity. Then they will open up their country. The US has had 1 in 500 people die of Covid or over 550k (the entire cities of New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale combined). New Zealand has had 26 deaths or 1 in 200,000 people die (or around the amount of...

    @Jamie and Alex_77W

    There are vaccines now. It's not pushing the problem down the road. It's waiting until they have enough people vaccinated to have herd immunity. Then they will open up their country. The US has had 1 in 500 people die of Covid or over 550k (the entire cities of New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale combined). New Zealand has had 26 deaths or 1 in 200,000 people die (or around the amount of people on a soccer team). If the option was to destroy New Orleans or Fort Lauderdale or not travel internationally for 2 years, I don't think this would be even a question.

  35. Sam01

    And to put things in perspective how life is “normal” there right now, this is from a music festival in Dec 2020:
    https://youtu.be/kEpdsO_74qU

  36. Sam01

    @george and @jamie — as a New Zealander living in the US, I found it ironic that after traveling back to “the land of the free” it actually felt to me like a prison after being in New Zealand for three months last year and enjoying large music festivals, restaurants and bars and not having to worry about masks or hand sanitizer since the virus is practically nonexistent. Sure, the government in the US is “hands off” in many states, but at what cost?

  37. Bobo Bolinski

    Good news, and good for them. I only wish the rest of the world's countries (including the USA) had enjoyed such competent and enlightened leadership through this pandemic.

  38. Alex_77W

    What Australia, New Zealand, and several other countries are doing is nothing new. The history knows of several island nations that were in isolation only to vanish later because of lack of the proper immune response once they encountered foreigners. Whole countries were closed for very long time - an example is Sakoku period in Japan. The only problem is that none of such small and large scale isolation have proven to be successful in...

    What Australia, New Zealand, and several other countries are doing is nothing new. The history knows of several island nations that were in isolation only to vanish later because of lack of the proper immune response once they encountered foreigners. Whole countries were closed for very long time - an example is Sakoku period in Japan. The only problem is that none of such small and large scale isolation have proven to be successful in a long run.
    And by the way, there is no problem with traveling within USA - planes are at capacity and several resort areas are sold out day after day. I have been to Australia quite a few times (primarily on business) and have no immediate desire to travel there whether or not they are open for tourists.

  39. Jamie

    It’s crazy to me that people are so willing to give up their freedoms so easily. Totally changes my view of these countries. Beyond the issue of personal freedoms, open borders facilitate global trade and is a huge wealth multiplier. Closing your borders even for a shot period can have huge effects on living standards and long term investment. In addition, have you really solved the problem? COVID is moving from being a pandemic to...

    It’s crazy to me that people are so willing to give up their freedoms so easily. Totally changes my view of these countries. Beyond the issue of personal freedoms, open borders facilitate global trade and is a huge wealth multiplier. Closing your borders even for a shot period can have huge effects on living standards and long term investment. In addition, have you really solved the problem? COVID is moving from being a pandemic to endemic. So what’s the end game? Don’t sit smugly on your islands thinking you’ve beaten this thing. All you’ve done is pushed the problem out and made yourselves poorer for it (oh and also become prisoners to your masters in government, so there’s that ).

  40. Mark G

    @Mark Only if you can convince other people to agree with you and follow suite. No man is an island...

  41. David

    Looks like American tourist dollars aren’t as important as some believe. If it was, countries would be fighting to get vaccinated just so they can earn some US tourist dollars, but alas Americans overestimate their own importance to other economies.

  42. Mark

    I'd be happy to forgo some freedom of movement to save half a million lives.

  43. snic

    @George: Your post is laughable. Most people simply don't travel. Having to stay within your own country for 2 years is, for the vast majority of people, simply a non-issue.

    As for "your freedoms are gone" - nothing fundamentally has changed about the "freedoms" enjoyed by New Zealanders and Australians. In fact, by controlling the pandemic so well, one could argue that they enjoy far more freedom to move around and interact uninhibitedly than anywhere...

    @George: Your post is laughable. Most people simply don't travel. Having to stay within your own country for 2 years is, for the vast majority of people, simply a non-issue.

    As for "your freedoms are gone" - nothing fundamentally has changed about the "freedoms" enjoyed by New Zealanders and Australians. In fact, by controlling the pandemic so well, one could argue that they enjoy far more freedom to move around and interact uninhibitedly than anywhere else in the world.

  44. brian kusler

    There was a story yesterday (you censor links so I can't post it) on The Age about a coalition of businesses calling on the government to re-open Australia when their vaccination program has reached the tier where all of the 50+ people (and those with comorbidities) have been vaccinated. The rest of the anglosphere (as well as a big chunk of Asia) will be ready to travel by then, and Australia's tourism industry will be...

    There was a story yesterday (you censor links so I can't post it) on The Age about a coalition of businesses calling on the government to re-open Australia when their vaccination program has reached the tier where all of the 50+ people (and those with comorbidities) have been vaccinated. The rest of the anglosphere (as well as a big chunk of Asia) will be ready to travel by then, and Australia's tourism industry will be completely shut out of the pent-up demand travel bonanza.

  45. Dennis Rettke

    @George, totally agree with you. Unfortunately most of the population don't see it that way and totally burn anyone that thinks otherwise.
    As someone living in the Australian jail, I am extremely grateful that I also have an EU passport as well as US permanent residency so that I can escape when the time is right.

  46. Alexander

    @george riiiight, it’s been so awful to live with little or no restrictions and not have to deal with the deaths of thousands. I have absolutely missed going overseas. But even if I was allowed to, I have little appetite to visit other countries where there have been local community transmission. I have however, enjoyed travelling around my massive country knowing the chances of becoming infected are so incredibly low. Domestic Australian travel capacity is...

    @george riiiight, it’s been so awful to live with little or no restrictions and not have to deal with the deaths of thousands. I have absolutely missed going overseas. But even if I was allowed to, I have little appetite to visit other countries where there have been local community transmission. I have however, enjoyed travelling around my massive country knowing the chances of becoming infected are so incredibly low. Domestic Australian travel capacity is currently up around the 80% mark.

    I am looking forward to visiting New Zealand in a few weeks and again in July.

  47. George

    Lol, can you imagine being a prisoner (I mean citizen) in either of these countries?

    Your soul has been crushed.
    Your freedoms are gone (likely forever)

    2+ years of not being able to leave your country.
    And you're on an island.

    I can't imagine a worse fate. What a sad story that everyone celebrates this too.
    Everyone is still happy to cheer for locking people indoors for years.

    Everyone celebrates.

  48. yyyy

    It's a dilemma many Asia Pacific countries are facing. Because the virus is well under control, people are not motivated to get vaccine.

Featured Comments Load all 49 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Richard Macdonald

@George, have you visited New Zealand? We have had an amazing summer living a "new normal" life. We are free to visit other countries, but have hotel quarantine on return for 14 days ( which you pay for). On April 19th Australians can arrive quarantine free, most of Australia has accepted Kiwis quarantine free since October 16th 2020. Sadly both Australia and New Zealand have been slow to roll out C-19 vaccine.

Florian

We should all remember as readers of this blog that we are the 1%, not the 99%. Whilst I’ve been a bit frustrated not being able to leave Oz (or sometimes not even my own state), the vast vast majority of Australians support the measures - as rough as my Melbourne friends had it last year. State borders still open and shut as COVID seeps in from places not as good at controlling it as here. Travelling to NZ will be exciting, and broaden our horizons a bit... but having said that I will be booking everything refundable, as no one really trusts the borders to remain open!

KiwiSam

All those people calling NZ a prison need to do a little research. We've been free to leave the country the whole time, there's no requirement for an exit visa. Obviously if you want to come back you need to get a spot in MIQ but that's manageable if you're organised. A close (but clearly insane) friend of mine spent 6 weeks in the Caribbean in Nov/Dec before returning to NZ a couple of days before Christmas last year.

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT