First 'bubble' flights to Australia as Vic virus cases fall

Sydney temperatures are expected to peak on Thursday and Friday. Photo: Getty Images
Flights from Auckland are carrying Kiwis to Sydney today. Photo: Getty Images
Several hundred passengers from Auckland are due to land in Sydney today as part of a new trans-Tasman travel bubble amid a rapidly falling growth rate in cases at the centre of Australia's coronavirus outbreak.

The state of Victoria recorded just two new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, health authorities said on Friday, in the lowest daily increase since early June.

Victoria, and in particular the state capital of Melbourne, have endured months of strict lock-down measures, although Premier Daniel Andrews is due to announce plans to ease some restrictions on Sunday.

In the state of New South Wales, where three New Zealand flights are due to land today, community transmission has crept up in recent days to double-digits, although the case load is modest compared to outbreaks in much of Europe and North America.

Travellers on the flights won't be required to quarantine in Sydney, Air New Zealand said, although the arrangements are not yet reciprocal, with New Zealand requiring arrivals to be in managed isolation for 14 days, at a cost of $3200.

Newstalk ZB's Khalia Strong was at Auckland Airport this morning, where passengers were arriving for the first flight to Sydney.

She said there was a flurry of activity at the international terminal, and people excited to be returning home or seeing family for the first time in many months.

Airport staff were also remarking to each other about how good it is to see people back in the international terminal.

Nearly all of those booked on the first flight due to leave mid-morning had one-way tickets. Around 200 people were expected to board the flight. 

Passengers were being warned if they wanted to interstate beyond New South Wales they would need to ensure they had checked state and territory travel restrictions and had the appropriate exemptions or approvals to travel, as these continue to change.

 - additional reporting NZ Herald



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