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Pause in travel bubble with New Zealand extended for three more days

Written by gaytourism

Mandatory hotel quarantine will be imposed on New Zealanders travelling to Australia for an extra three days after the Federal Government extended the suspension of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

Green-zone travel arrangements were paused after a Kiwi woman infected with the highly contagious South African variant of COVID-19 travelled to about 30 New Zealand locations before testing positive.

Australian health authorities had sought information on a further two people who tested positive to COVID-19 in New Zealand.

Close contacts of these two individuals and others potentially exposed are still awaiting test results.

The initial 72-hour suspension was due to end at 2:00pm today.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, said the suspension would protect Australians while the extent of the situation in New Zealand can be determined.

Outbreak in Auckland’s Pullman Hotel

The Australian Government announced it was suspending the bubble on Monday afternoon after New Zealand recorded its first case — a woman who recently returned from overseas — in the community in two months.

The 56-year-old woman was found to have contracted the South African strain of coronavirus that is more transmissible, and two more people who were staying in the same hotel as the woman had also tested positive.

Professor Kidd said the Government was determined to keep Australians safe from the virus and flagged concerns around an additional group.

“We’ve also been advised a small number of people who were in hotel quarantine in the [Auckland] Pullman Hotel in at the same time as these other cases have since travelled to Australia on ‘green zone’ flights before the pause was introduced on Monday afternoon,” he said.

“All these people are being followed up by the health authorities in the state where they landed.”

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New Zealand travel bubble suspension extended until Sunday after fresh cases.

Twelve of these people arrived in Sydney, with three travelling onto Hong Kong and two to Queensland.

Earlier in the week, Professor Kidd urged those who have flown to Australia from New Zealand on any flight since January 14 to get tested and go into isolation.

He expanded that advice on Thursday to cover anyone who had flown into Australia from New Zealand since January 9.

The woman at the centre of New Zealand’s cases recently returned from Europe and tested negative twice during her hotel quarantine before returning home on January 13.

The bubble was formed at the end of 2020, allowing New Zealanders to travel to certain Australian states before later becoming a national agreement.

The Federal Government has repeatedly said it would like to see the arrangement become reciprocal and Australians allowed to travel quarantine-free across the ditch.