Travel bubble pause with Victoria extended a further two days

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Jul 2021, 8:33PM
New Zealand's quarantine-free travel arrangements with Victoria have been paused since July 16. Photo / 123rf
New Zealand's quarantine-free travel arrangements with Victoria have been paused since July 16. Photo / 123rf

Travel bubble pause with Victoria extended a further two days

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Jul 2021, 8:33PM

The pause on quarantine-free travel between Victoria and New Zealand will be extended.

The Ministry of Health said tonight a better understanding was needed on the developing Covid-19 situation in the Australian state, which today recorded 13 new community cases of the virus and extended its lockdown.

The travel bubble freeze would be reviewed again on July 21.

The decision to continue the pause with Victoria was a "precautionary but necessary measure" while investigations continue, the ministry said.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, pictured at a press conference in Wellington in June. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The ministry previously announced quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand would be paused from July 16 for at least four days.

Victoria entered its fifth lockdown last Thursday, meaning people could only leave home for a limited number of reasons, including shopping for essentials and exercise.

Today Victoria premier Daniel Andrews announced the state's lockdown would be extended as another 13 community cases connected to the current outbreak were reported.

"We will not be ready to lift this lockdown at midnight tomorrow night," Andrews told media today.

He said putting Victoria into lockdown was the right decision, and the state had made great progress and avoided thousands of cases.

"We know if we had been open, then we would be just like Sydney. We would have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cases. And we would not be looking at a short lockdown, we would be looking at something entirely different."

Anyone who had been in Victoria since July 8 was encouraged to keep checking the Victoria Health website for locations of interest - as the list of locations of interest continued to grow.

People who had been at a location of interest at the relevant time should immediately isolate at their home or appropriate accommodation and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.

Queensland & South Australia

Quarantine-free travel remained in place with Queensland as health authorities considered the situation posed a low public health risk to New Zealand.

However, the ministry said the situation was subject to no further significant developments.

Anyone who was in Queensland since June 28 should check the Queensland Health website for locations of interest.

New Zealand health officials were also closely monitoring the situation in South Australia, following a new community case of Covid-19 reported today.

New South Wales

New Zealand health authorities have also put quarantine-free travel from New South Wales on ice - with the arrangement paused since June 22.

The pause on travel from New South Wales would also be reviewed again on July 21, the ministry said tonight.

New Zealand public health staff remained in close contact with their Australian counterparts about the actions being taken in each state, the ministry said.

The state recorded 98 new community cases of the virus today - 20 of those were infectious while in the community.

The new cases took the total number of infections linked to Sydney's current outbreak to 1340.

Travellers stranded in New South Wales due to the travel pause are being set aside hundreds of extra spaces in Auckland MIQ facilities.

Initially, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced 1000 spaces in MIQ facilities for returning travellers who normally reside in New Zealand, for the period July 14 to July 27

A MIQ spokeswoman said today a further 530 rooms would be allocated across managed isolation facilities in Auckland from July 28 to August 8.

The ministry announced today that 21 Kiwis had visited Covid-19 exposure sites as they travelled in Australia and were now isolating while awaiting negative tests.

Of the 21 people, 13 were in Brisbane, two in wider Queensland and six in Melbourne.

No new community cases in New Zealand

There were no community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand - and three in the country's MIQ facilities.

This afternoon, the ministry announced that two crew members on a Marshall-islands flagged ship berthed in Bluff had tested positive for the virus.

The results of the remaining 19 crew members of the Mattina were due back tonight.

The Mattina is the third foreign vessel in New Zealand waters to have a Covid-19 outbreak on board, with Spanish-flagged ships Viking Bay and Playa Zahara both recording cases among crew members.