• Sat. Oct 22nd, 2022

“It was so sudden.”

Jun 27, 2021

Perth and Darwin both announced COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, but with quarantine-free travel to New Zealand on hold, there are plenty of New Zealanders stuck in Australia.
Perth resident Chelsea Badger was within eyesight of her green zone flight when they all of a sudden turned red across the country.
“It was just the shock of it because it was so sudden,” she says.
“All of the Air New Zealand staff were there ready to check us in. It was all go, then everyone heard the announcement over the speaker and everyone was in shock.”
In Brisbane, Luke is among the many facing an expensive wait to get a flight home.
“To stay at the hotel for another week – $1400.”
But the bubble pause was inevitable and the threat of COVID-19 started to outweigh the benefits of keeping it open.
“The current situation with cases in Australia is the worst that it’s been since the bubble started. In fact the worst it has been for some time,” says COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
New South Wales had its worst day of COVID-19 cases so far in this latest cluster – 30 new community transmission cases were announced.
“Given how contagious this strand of the virus is, case numbers are likely to increase beyond what we have today,” says NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
For now, flights from Sydney are on pause for another nine more days, and across the rest of Australia, it’s three more days. But there could be new measures for the travel bubble.
“We are likely to impose pre-departure testing from all Australian states for a period of time,” Hipkins says.
This travel buffer is giving health officials time to respond to the unpredictable and evolving outbreaks.  
“These are not decisions we take lightly – we acknowledge it leaves people separated from their lives, from their families, their livelihoods and it does cause significant disruption,” Hipkins adds.