New Zealand suspends quarantine-free Covid travel bubble with Australia amid Delta variant rise

People waiting for get their Covid-19 vaccine Credit: AP

New Zealand has suspended its quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia due to concerns about a growing Delta variant Covid cluster in Sydney.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said quarantine-free travel for those arriving from Australia will be suspended from 11.59pm New Zealand time.

The restrictions will last for at least eight weeks.

The move comes after New Zealand recently imposed quarantine restrictions on travellers from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia states, where there are lockdowns.

Ms Ardern said she hopes New Zealanders who want to return home can fly back within a week.

Australia and New Zealand have been in a travel bubble since April and they have imposed quarantine restrictions on travellers from all other countries.

The two countries have been among the most successful in the world in containing coronavirus outbreaks.

However, their success in containing the outbreaks has led to a level of complacency to vaccinating their populations.

Only around 12.9% of New Zealand's population has been fully vaccinated, while the figure is less than 12% in Australia.

In comparison, almost 55% of the UK population has had both doses of a coronavirus vaccination.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the end of quarantine-free travel with Australia. Credit: PA

But recently, a cluster of the Delta variant from Sydney has spread across Australia.

New South Wales state declared an emergency over the Sydney outbreak on Friday.

Authorities reported one death and 136 new infections in the latest 24-hour period, the biggest daily jump since the outbreak began in mid-June.

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