Joyful scenes as Australia-New Zealand travel bubble opens up

Joyful scenes as Australia-New Zealand travel bubble opens up

New Zealand's Ministry of Health is investigating after its online form failed to log the contact tracing information of several Australian travellers on the same quarantine-free travel flight.

As New Zealand gets through its second day of travel with the transtasman bubble, a border worker at Auckland Airport has returned a positive test for Covid-19. For the countries' governments and travel-related businesses, the opening marks a crucial step toward recovery - though there is still a long way to go. "So you can see those protocols there, working as we would intend", Ms Ardern said just moments ago.

The total number of active cases reported in New Zealand today is 86.

The flight will be the first of many, with Qantas, Jetstar and Air New Zealand saying they were expecting to fly about 10,000 people on trans-Tasman routes today.

Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealand residents since late past year, New Zealand had enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbour, citing concerns about sporadic virus outbreaks there.

There is one historical case to report since yesterday - a recent returnee who is considered recovered. - AFP Danny Mather, right, and other family members wait at the Wellington International Airport for the arrival of Mather's pregnant daughter Kristy in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday. Passengers have been warned that quarantine-free travel could be suspended at any time in case of COVID-19 outbreaks.

A giant sign painted near the main runway of the Wellington International Airport greets travellers returning home in Wellington New Zealand Monday April 19. The sign reads “Welcome Whanau” with the second word an Indigenous Maori word meaning famil

Both countries closed their borders in March 2020 and introduced quarantine for returning nationals.

Lorraine Wratt, a New Zealander stranded by the pandemic while visiting family in Australia, told AFP it was "wonderful" to be able to travel again.

More than half a million New Zealand-born people live in Australia, just over 2% of Australia's population of near 26 million.

Australia is home to hundreds of thousands of expatriate New Zealanders and before coronavirus many regularly shuttled back and forth across the Tasman on three-hour flights.

There were group hugs and enthusiastic welcomes at airport terminals on both sides of the Tasman Sea as the long-awaited bubble sparked joy and relief.

"This is also someone who is part of routine testing".

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