Stranded Kiwis in Sydney set for help

·2-min read

As the trans-Tasman bubble reopens, the New Zealand government will offer a lifeline home to Kiwis stranded in New South Wales by the latest COVID-19 outbreak.

On Monday morning, New Zealand allowed half of Australia to resume quarantine-free travel across the Tasman Sea.

Residents of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT can now make their way across the ditch without the need for a fortnight in quarantine.

Jacinda Ardern's cabinet has also approved a reopening to Western Australia and the Northern Territory from Saturday.

An assessment on whether Queensland can rejoin the quarantine-free travel bubble will come on Wednesday, while NSW remains some way off.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 35 new cases on Monday, and Ms Ardern said there was "no clear date in mind" to reopen to the state.

"So long as there are extensive restrictions in place, you can expect that we will not change our position, which is a pause," Ms Ardern said.

"Even if those restrictions were to lift, we will very much make our own assessment."

The Bondi-originated outbreak has trapped many visitors from New Zealand in NSW.

Ms Ardern's government has warned travellers they must shelter in place during outbreaks, but last month, in response to the Victorian outbreak, NZ allowed citizens to return after they had spent a fortnight isolating at home.

The same deal will be offered to Kiwis in NSW from Saturday, with further details to be released on Tuesday.

"If we start getting up to that 12-14 day mark ... that means people have been in a form of lockdown. It means they're safer for us. They've been isolating," Ms Ardern said.

From this week, New Zealand will ask Australians to test negative to COVID-19 within 72 hours of travelling to Aotearoa.

New Zealand is on a 127-day streak without community transmission of COVID-19.

With low vaccination rates - ranking 122nd in the world for doses administered per capita - it is currently highly susceptible to the fast-spreading Delta variant.

Ms Ardern's government received a slice of good news on Sunday, when a much-needed shipment of 150,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer arrived two days ahead of schedule.

There were fears New Zealand could run out of vaccine if the shipment did not arrive on time.

"This means we'll be able to keep the rollout cranking along and we won't see any change to people's booked vaccinations," Ms Ardern told Radio NZ.

New Zealand's rollout will ramp up from the end of this month, with the goal to have every consenting adult vaccinated by the end of the year.

TRANS-TASMAN BUBBLE:

OPEN NOW: Vic, Tas, SA, ACT

OPEN ON SATURDAY: WA, NT

REVIEWED ON WEDNESDAY: Qld

PAUSED INDEFINITELY: NSW

New Zealanders can currently fly anywhere in Australia without the need to quarantine.

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