New Zealand will require Australian travellers to produce a negative COVID-19 test when it restarts the trans-Tasman bubble next week.

From Monday, travellers from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and ACT will be welcomed back to New Zealand.

Australia’s four other jurisdictions – NSW, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia – won’t see a return of quarantine-free travel until their COVID-19 situations improve.

All four of those places have ordered their capital cities into lockdown after reporting multiple community cases in the past week.

The door will be closed to NSW travellers until at least July 7.

COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said Victoria, Tasmania, SA and ACT already fulfilled the “green zone” requirements that would allow for the return of quarantine-free travel.

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said cabinet decided to defer openings until Monday to introduce the new pre-departure testing requirement.

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“We see that as key to maintaining the confidence of New Zealanders in the bubble and ensuring that at periods of uncertainty across states, it gives us that extra layer of protection,” she said.

“That extra bit of time does allow us to get a better sense of what’s happening across Australia.”

Details on how to fulfil the pre-departure test requirements are available on New Zealand’s COVID-19 website.

The Ardern government slapped the whole-of-country suspension on quarantine-free travel last Saturday night.

That move – the first since the opening of the bubble on April 21 – came in response to fears of spread from the NT gold mine case.

Hipkins said any new cases could change the decision.

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“We know how important the bubble is, in particular for families and businesses. But we also want to avoid a situation where we are having to respond to a case here in New Zealand,” he said.

Ardern’s cabinet also decided to remove restrictions on Wellington, which was at risk of community transmission after a Sydney traveller with COVID-19 visited.

Since that visit, wastewater testing and more than 2500 personal tests have failed to show any spread of the virus.

Wellington will return to level one settings from Wednesday.

 

AAP

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