Australia has suspended the travel bubble with New Zealand after a woman across the Tasman tested positive to the highly contagious South African strain of coronavirus.
The 56-year-old was only diagnosed after completing 14 days in quarantine following her arrival in New Zealand.
She was released on January 13 before travelling across various parts of the region.
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It’s New Zealand’s first local case of COVID-19 in more than two months.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says free travel from New Zealand will be put on hold for at least 72 hours.
“The AHPPC has recommended to the government, and the government has immediately accepted and implemented the advice, that there should be a suspension of green zone travel arrangements or the green zone travel bubble with New Zealand for a minimum of 72 hours,” Mr Hunt said on Monday.
“This will be done out of an abundance of caution whilst more is learnt about the event and the case.”
The suspension come into effect immediately.
Any traveller arriving in Australia from New Zealand will be required to go into hotel quarantine for at least 72 hours, but possibly up to 14 days if the suspension of the travel bubble is extended.
Anyone who has arrived in New Zealand since January 14 is also being advised to isolate and get tested, and remain isolated until they receive a negative result.
“We apologise to those who may be inconvenienced. This has been taken on the basis of strong, clear, immediate medical advice from the AHPPC, immediately considered in the Cabinet arrangements, and accepted by the Prime Minister and the government of Australia,” Mr Hunt said.
Two flights are due to take off from New Zealand to Australia this afternoon.