New Zealand is set to allow Victorians back into the country next week after a month-long suspension due to COVID-19.
Melbourne’s latest community outbreak prompted Jacinda Ardern’s government to close the border to Victoria last month.
The outbreak trapped many visiting Kiwis, although they have since been allowed to return home after a government exemption.
Health officials have now given a conditional tick to re-opening the border from midnight on Tuesday, essentially restarting the trans-Tasman bubble.
“New Zealand health officials will keep a close watch on developments in the state but at this point their advice is that we would expect to be in a position to lift the pause at the end of the five-day extension,” COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said.
“The most recent report of a case being infectious in the community was 8 June, until the case announced this week of a nurse who may have worked a hospital shift while infectious.”
Hipkins acknowledged the disruption of many due to the travel ban, which began on May 25.
New Zealand’s move pre-empts several Australian states, which still have restrictions on movement from Melbourne.
While New South Wales has recently eased restrictions on travel from the Victorian capital, the four other states still ban travel or require self-quarantine on arrival.
In all jurisdictions, including New Zealand, people who have visited a location of interest – where a potentially infected person has also travelled – must not travel.
The trans-Tasman bubble has endured a number of suspensions since it was opened in April.
The Victorian closure was the only one to last longer than a few days.
Kiwi leaders warned that travel across the ditch under the bubble model would operate on a “flyer beware” model.
No repatriation flights or assistance was offered to Kiwis who were impacted by the border settings.
New Zealand officials are also monitoring a new case in Sydney picked up on Wednesday night.
Should the eastern suburbs case turn into an outbreak, Kiwi officials may suspend travel once more.