Trans-Tasman bubble opens as Victoria records zero locally-acquired cases

A passenger arriving from Sydney at the Wellington International Airport hugs a loved one in Wellington New Zealand Monday. — AP

Despite the excitement of open borders, Morrison and Ardern warned travellers to prepare for disruptions to their travel at short notice in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks, and said the risks of quarantine-free travel will be under "constant review".

In the New Zealand capital, Wellington, Danny Mather was overcome to see his pregnant daughter Kristy and his infant grandson for the first time in 15 months after they flew in from Sydney for a visit on the first flight after the bubble opened. New Zealand time on Sunday night, with the first Australian flight from Sydney landing in Auckland past midday.

Families reunited in emotional scenes on Monday as Australia and New Zealand launched a quarantine-free travel bubble that opened the border nearly 400 days after its pandemic-enforced closure.

Qantas will join Jetstar and Air New Zealand in connecting the Gold Coast to Auckland from today.

Both leaders also flagged the possibility of extending quarantine-free travel to other countries in the Pacific region when "it is safe to do so".

On Monday, thousands crossed the Tasman Sea to enter Australia and New Zealand after the long-awaited end of mandatory quarantine.

The travelers are required to complete a health declaration ahead of departure and return a negative test in the 14-day period.

A giant sign painted near the main runway of the Wellington International Airport greets travellers returning home in Wellington New Zealand Monday April 19. The sign reads “Welcome Whanau” with the second word an Indigenous Maori word meaning famil

The airline's chief operating officer Carrie Hurihanganui said the carrier had previously been running just two or three flights a day between the two countries but that jumped to 30 flights on Monday carrying 5,200 passengers.

"Given the impact of this separation on so many people, we are expecting to see lots of emotional reunions at Gold Coast Airport over the next few weeks".

Ashish Jha provides insight on 'Fox News Live'.

Australia was New Zealand's largest source of global tourists before the pandemic, accounting for about 1.5 million arrivals or 40 percent of total visitors in 2019.

"I think this is going to be very important for the tourism and travel industry on both sides of the Tasman, as well the very practical issues of families being able to reconnect".

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today.

"This case is a recent returnee who is considered recovered", say the MOH.

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