NZ puts travel bubble with NSW on hold due to Sydney outbreak

NZ puts travel bubble with NSW on hold due to Sydney outbreak

NZ Parliament in Wellington. Photo courtesy of Sulthan Auliya via Unsplash.

The latest cases of community transmission in Sydney have led New Zealand to pause quarantine-free travel from New South Wales while authorities search for the missing link of infection.

From day one of the trans-Tasman bubble scheme the New Zealand Government emphasised a "flyer beware approach" whereby arrangements could be suspended in the event of an outbreak, with no compensation provided should hotel quarantine suddenly be required. However, measures announced today don't appear to be that drastic.

New Zealand's COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says anyone who was at one of the locations of interest in New South Wales at the relevant time should isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested for COVID-19.

"Anyone who is in Australia who has been at one of the locations of interest is subject to the requirements of the New South Wales Government and should not travel to New Zealand," he says.

"The Government is aware this will cause some disruption to travellers but strongly believes a cautious approach is the best course of action while investigations continue."

Hipkins notes whole genome sequencing has linked the case yesterday to a recent returnee who arrived in Australia from the United States, and a household contact of yesterday's case has also returned a positive test.

"An epidemiological link is yet to be determined between yesterday's case and the recent returnee," he says.

"While the new case announced today is not unexpected as a household contact of yesterday's case, officials have assessed that with several outstanding unknowns in the situation in Sydney it is safest to pause QFT for any flights leaving New South Wales after 11.59pm tonight. This will be under constant review."

Updated at 4:36pm AEST on 6 May 2021.

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