The first quarantine-free flights to Australia from New Zealand touch down Friday, a one-way corridor that underlines the difficulty of restarting broad international travel.
From October 16, New Zealanders can visit New South Wales state, home to Sydney, without having to quarantine on arrival. But those flying back to New Zealand still need to undertake mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days, and pay for it themselves.
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The restrictions for those returning from Australia reflect the resurgence of Covid-19 in pockets of the country, most notably in Victoria state, which has spent months bringing a Melbourne outbreak to heel. New Zealand, in contrast, has crushed community transmission of the virus.
While Singapore and Hong Kong said yesterday they’ll open their borders to one another, efforts worldwide to establish corridors have been hobbled by coronavirus flareups, and the travel clampdowns that are required to slow the spread of infection.
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Given the quarantine requirements in New Zealand, there’s little demand for return flights. About 90% of passengers on the Air New Zealand Ltd. flight that lands shortly after midday in Sydney on Friday are travelling one way, the airline said.