Coronavirus Covid 19: Australia’s transtasman bubble travel protocols to New Zealand are not tough enough – Traveler
The break in non-quarantine travel between New Zealand and Victoria will be extended for another seven days amid a new outbreak in the Australian state. Video / Jason Walls
A recent traveler returning from Melbourne was disappointed and concerned about the gap between Covid-19 protocols between Australia and New Zealand.
The Australian woman, who moved to New Zealand with her partner Kiwi, flew from Christchurch to Melbourne on a three-day visit to see her dog.
She told the Herald when she booked her flight to Australia she was told to make sure she met all the requirements and was required to complete a “rigorous” travel document.
She had to enter her contact details in New Zealand as well as the details of her stay in Australia.
Emergency contact details were also required, along with an email address, flight number and the exact location where she would be staying.
The form has been reviewed by the Australian government and must be approved. It was only then that she received a unique QR code to scan at the airport, which allowed her to board a plane and travel to Australia.
This contrasts sharply with the minimum expectations required to return to New Zealand, she said.
All she had to do was go through customs and fill out an arrival card, which only asked for New Zealand contact details.
“It’s worrying, because if you don’t have access to a cellular network or something like that while you’re here [in New Zealand], they will have a hard time finding you. “
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s and Covid-19 Cabinet said travelers arriving in New Zealand on a trip without quarantine were required to complete a travel declaration.
Passengers are also required to answer a series of health-related questions at their airline’s check-in kiosk in Australia. There was also an in-flight message, giving guidance on New Zealand’s Covid-19 parameters, which must be read aloud by airlines to passengers upon arrival in New Zealand.
A brochure was to be given to all inbound travelers by airlines with information on positive health precautions for Covid-19.
“At the airport, airport companies have been required to make contact tracing booklets available for travelers who do not use smartphones, so that these travelers can manually record the places they visit,” he said. declared the spokesperson.
Health professionals are stationed at New Zealand’s international airports to perform random temperature checks and travelers’ health assessments.
The Australian woman told the Herald that she had to complete the health declaration upon check-in and that the questions were mainly about whether she had symptoms of Covid-19.
“It was probably as easy as traveling from Melbourne to Sydney or from Christchurch to Auckland.
“The only difference was that I had to scan my passport.”
Non-quarantine travel between New Zealand and Victoria was suspended as the number of active cases in the state on Friday rose to 30.
The woman said she also noticed a big difference in the rules for face masks between New Zealand and Australia.
At Christchurch Airport, she was only required to wear a face mask once she had passed the departure gate to board the plane.
A spokesperson for DPMC said people must wear face masks on domestic flights and on the airside of international airports arriving from overseas.
“For international arrivals, that’s until they go through customs.”
But at Melbourne Airport, everyone must wear a face mask from the moment they enter the building, she said.
The woman said the whole experience had left her uncertain about New Zealand’s ability to handle a Covid-19 outbreak from the Transtasman bubble.
“It didn’t reassure me that if there was an epidemic New Zealand would be able to bring it under control.
“I feel confident that everyone arriving in Australia had all the checks and balances, but coming back it felt like it was a bit of an amateur hour, as if Covid-19 didn’t exist. “
The DPMC spokesperson said they had systems in place to deal with cases when they did arise, which had been successful in containing previous cases and outbreaks.
“Planning for the resurgence of non-quarantine travel means we are confident in our ability to handle an outbreak.”
They said the development of a no-quarantine agreement with Australia had a strong focus on establishing clear processes between agencies in New Zealand and their counterparts in Australia.
“In the end, we got there without the need for a formal joint agreement.
“There are a number of agreed protocols such as the separation of passengers and crew from green and red flights. However, as each country determines its own rules and responses to Covid-19, we recognize that there will be differences. “