New Zealand has suspended travel ties with Australia for two months as several states deal with coronavirus outbreaks.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the decision after a cabinet meeting on Friday.

The trans-Tasman bubble will burst at midnight on Friday but there will be managed return flights over the next week to allow New Zealanders to return home.

Those outside Victoria and NSW will be able to return without going through quarantine.

Everyone will need to obtain a negative pre-departure test.

“My strong message to every New Zealander in Australia right now who does not want to stay there long term is – come home,” Ms Ardern said.

Australia is grappling with serious coronavirus outbreaks in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, with a local case also recorded in Queensland.

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More than 14 million people are in lockdown across the country.

The travel bubble began on April 19 and allowed Australians and New Zealanders to travel between the two countries without the need to quarantine.

However, Ms Ardern said the highly contagious Delta variant had materially changed the risk profile and COVID-19 was now widespread in Australia.

“We’ve always said that our response would evolve as the virus evolved,” she said.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep New Zealanders safe.”

AAP

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