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New Zealand, Australia travel bubble to start on 19 April

Conditions for quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand have been met, and a bubble will start in less than two weeks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

The new settings will begin from 11.59pm on 18 April.

Ardern said the position New Zealand found itself in had still come at a cost.

Cabinet has been meeting today to decide the date the two-way quarantine-free travel will start. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised last month to announce on 6 April when the bubble could begin operating.

She today said airlines had not been given any forewarning about when a bubble with Australia would be opened.

Ardern had previously said the government had carefully worked through the framework of a trans-Tasman bubble.

But she warned travelling would not be without risk and if there was a community outbreak in Australia, travelling Kiwis may have to stay put, self-isolate or be tested once they return.

The three-day lockdown in the Greater Brisbane area was lifted over the weekend and there have been no new cases in Queensland for the second day in a row.

In northern New South Wales coronavirus restrictions eased on Monday night after another day of no new community cases.

New Zealand's tourism industry has been waiting impatiently for quarantine-free visitor flights between the two nations to return, giving a much-needed injection of life into the sector, which could bring an estimated $1 billion into the national economy.

More to come...