New Zealand on Tuesday announced to start quarantine-free travel with Australia from April 19, according to the prime minister.
Announcing the decision, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from Australia to New Zealand is low and that quarantine-free travel is safe to commence.
“Our team’s success in managing COVID-19 and keeping it out over the past 12 months now opens up the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and resume Trans-Tasman travel," Ardern said in her statement.
“One sacrifice that has been particularly hard for many to bear over the past year has been the separation from friends and family who live in Australia, so today’s announcement will be a great relief for many," she added.
However, the travelers must not have had a positive COVID-19 test result in the previous 14-day period and must not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test taken during that period.
“To be eligible to travel to or from New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight, people must not have had a positive COVID-19 test result in the previous 14-day period and must not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test taken during that period,” said Chris Hipkins, the COVID-19 response minister.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the announcement and termed it as "another big step."
"I'm very pleased that the New Zealand government has decided that two way travel will commence Monday fortnight, Prime Minister Ardern called me last night and we had a very positive discussion about this it's something we've been talking about for some time," Morrison told reporters.
"And this is the first of many more steps to come, I believe, as we get back to a more normal position," he added.
In October last year, Australia opened its borders and allowed quarantine-free travel from New Zealand following eased restrictions against the novel coronavirus.
So far, Australia reported 29,365 cases with 909 deaths, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University, while New Zealand recorded 2,524 infections and 26 fatalities.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.