Covid-19 coronavirus travel bubble: Automated Air NZ message suggests borders about to close to Australia

An automated voice message on the Air New Zealand general inquiries phone line suggests the transtasman travel bubble is already closed.

Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper reported this morning that his calls into the general inquiries line of the national carrier led to an automated voice message that said quarantine-free travel between the countries had been paused.

The automated voice message said: “The New Zealand Government has announced an extended pause on quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand. We are working closely with the Government for people to return home as soon as possible.”

This comes amid an escalating outbreak of the Delta strain of coronavirus in Australia.

Cabinet ministers met yesterday to discuss the transtasman bubble – with a full pause likely to have been discussed.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said that an update was expected today. No official public statement has been released by the Government so far.

The meeting is understood to be a full Cabinet meeting, with ministers meeting despite many being on leave – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.

Half of the Australian population is currently in lockdown and NSW yesterday had the most daily cases since the latest Delta outbreak began.

A major safety issue remains with up to half of the arrivals from Australia not being checked for negative pre-departure tests.

The move by Air New Zealand indicates the airline has already made the call to shut the border between the two countries.

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