NZ-Victoria travel bubble pause extended

The state of Victoria will enter a 5-day lockdown at midnight tonight. Photo: Getty Images
There are now 100 cases associated with the outbreak in the greater Melbourne area. Photo: Getty Images
The quarantine-free travel pause with the Australian state of Victoria has been extended for another five days.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said with the risk of the Covid-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne decreasing, public health officials considered it was "unlikely there is further widespread community transmission in the state".

Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone
Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ
The pause was originally in place until 11.59pm this evening, but Hipkins said a short extension to 11.59pm on Tuesday was "in line with our precautionary approach".

"New Zealand health officials will keep a close watch on developments in the state but at this point their advice is that we would expect to be in a position to lift the pause at the end of the five-day extension," Hipkins said.

"This will reviewed if the situation changes."

There are now 100 cases associated with the outbreak in the greater Melbourne area, spread across all clusters.

The most recent report of a case being infectious in the community was June 8, until the case announced this week of a nurse who may have worked a hospital shift while infectious.

"We acknowledge the pause in quarantine free travel continues to inconvenience those who have had their travel plans disrupted," Hipkins said.

"Everyone who is eligible can already return on 'green flights', meaning they are not be required to isolate when they arrive home. However, they must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken within three-days of departure. A PCR test is required."

Meanwhile, New Zealand health officials were also reviewing details of cases announced yesterday in New South Wales which appeared to have a clear link to the border.

It is expected that further information will be provided on the NSW cases later today, Hipkins said.

Anyone in New Zealand who visited a location of interest at the specified time in Victoria, New South Wales or Queensland is unable to travel and remains covered by a Section 70 notice, which has been issued under the Health Act.

"In the meantime, these cases in Australia are an important reminder that we should remain vigilant and stick to the basics – use the NZ COVID-19 Tracer app, stay put if you are sick, and wear a mask on all flights and public transport," Hipkins said.


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