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Australia reopens its “travel bubble” with New Zealand | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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The decision marks the resumption of the only international arrivals in Australia that do not require 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Australia reopened its “travel bubble” with New Zealand after the neighboring country reported no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases for four days.

Sunday’s decision marks the resumption of the only international arrivals to Australia that do not require 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Australia had suspended quarantine exemptions for trans-Tasmanian arrivals on January 25 after New Zealand reported its first new case in months.

No other community cases have been reported since the woman’s case was disclosed on January 24, and authorities said the source of the infection was likely another returnee at the quarantine center.

Arrivals from New Zealand “are now considered to be of sufficiently low risk, given New Zealand’s strong public health response to COVID-19,” the acting chief medical officer said. ‘Australia Michael Kidd to reporters.

However, Australia would require screening of travelers from New Zealand before and after flights for the next 10 days, Kidd added, “given that there is still a low risk of detecting other associated cases and with great caution ”.

The travel bubble is a one-sided arrangement at the moment, with Australia hoping New Zealand will return the favor in the months to come.

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, said last week that her country’s borders “are likely to be affected for much of this year”.

She added: “For the journey to start again, we need one of two things: Either we need the certainty that being vaccinated means you are not spreading COVID-19 to other people – and we don’t know it yet or we need our people to be vaccinated and protected so people can return to New Zealand safely. Both possibilities will take time. “

New Zealand has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic with just 25 deaths out of 1,927 confirmed cases of the virus in a population of five million.

Meanwhile, Australia – which has closed its borders to all countries except New Zealand since March 2020 – on Sunday marked two weeks without a locally acquired case of the virus, which has infected 29,000 people in the country and killed 909.

The country is currently preparing a vaccination program from the end of February.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday the government would invite the nation’s approximately 5,800 community pharmacies this week to apply for a federally funded program to pay them to administer vaccines, as well as doctors and agents. health of hospitals.

“This means more points of presence for Australians when it comes to where they can get their COVID-19 vaccine,” Hunt said.

“It’s a potentially life-saving drug. Medicines can work with varying degrees of effectiveness, but overall they can improve lives, prolong lives, or save lives. “

The government plans to start immunizing priority groups like elderly and indigenous Australians with a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE from the end of February.

The plan also includes a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford, although this product has not yet been approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. Pharmacists involved in the program would receive training to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the first vaccines scheduled for May, Hunt said.


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