Australia approves quarantine-free travel from South Island

Australia has approved quarantine-free travel from the South Island, beginning on Tuesday.

Australia's chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly said in a statement that from 11.59pm on Tuesday, all fully vaccinated people living in the South Island could travel to Australia if they provided a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure.

Travellers would also have to declare they've not been in the North Island for any period of time over the last 14 days.

Kelly said New South Wales and Victoria had agreed to allow trips to restart from midnight on Tuesday given there had not been a Covid-19 case in the South Island since last year.

"There is very good work being done to stop people from the North Island going to the South Island, so that is not a risk," Professor Kelly told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

"We hope to allow anyone who has been in the South Island of New Zealand whether Australian, New Zealanders or other nationalities, as long as they have been there for 14 days, to come in quarantine free.

"I understand there are some Australians that have been stuck in the South Island of New Zealand for some time," Prof Kelly said.

Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty says the loosening of restrictions will be welcomed by many New Zealanders.

"This is great news for all of the visitors to New Zealand who have been unable to travel home since the bubble closed in August. The airline is seeking clarification from the Australian Government on how this will work and will have more to share in the coming days."

Kelly says the pause on travel from anywhere except the South Island will continue until 11.59pm on October 31 as Delta continues to spread outside Auckland.

All flights from the North Island will be classed as red-zone, meaning passengers must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.

"The Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) will continue to monitor the situation in New Zealand and provide revised guidance as further information becomes available. A further review of the travel arrangements will be undertaken on Saturday 30 October 2021."

 - additional reporting AAP

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