By Stephen Wright
WELLINGTON, New Zealand--New Zealand will halt quarantine-free travel with Australia for eight weeks because of increased risks from the Covid-19 Delta variant, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday.
The travel bubble with Australia was already halted with New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia states, which are battling outbreaks of the virus and together make up about two-thirds of Australia's population.
Ms. Ardern told a press conference that the halt in the travel bubble would be in effect within hours and could be extended after the initial two-month period. She said the Delta variant poses an increased danger to New Zealand's strategy of eliminating the virus.
Aided by remote island geography and a strict initial lockdown, New Zealand has had little more than 2,000 Covid-19 cases and few deaths. The country has so far vaccinated only about 12% of its adult population.
Travel stocks fell moderately after the announcement. Auckland International Airport Ltd. was 1.4% lower and Air New Zealand Ltd. lost 1.0%.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 22, 2021 22:04 ET (02:04 GMT)Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.