Man who breached WA, NZ travel rules under investigation

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read

New Zealand immigration authorities say a man who skipped Perth's Covid-19 lockdown to fly to Auckland "has a case to answer".

The man made use of the trans-Tasman bubble on Monday to fly quarantine-free into Auckland and on to Northland, where he is now self-isolating.

The travel appears to breach the conditions of both Western Australia's lockdown and the trans-Tasman travel regime introduced last week.

Immigration New Zealand manager Peter Elms said the man left Perth during the lockdown, but the failure to detect him prior to leaving the airport was not his organisation's mistake.

Air New Zealand planes at airport.
The man flew quarantine-free into Auckland on Monday and on to Northland, where he is now self-isolating. Source: AAP

"The first time we were aware ... was when he arrived in Auckland. We don't have visibility of all of the traveller movements in Australia," he told Radio NZ.

"As soon as we became aware of that we took steps to notify the Ministry of Health."

Mr Elms confirmed INZ's intervention came only after the man had left the airport.

Another 73 people were blocked from entering New Zealand from Perth, according to INZ, but the man changed his travel itinerary which made his movements hard to detect.

"This person has a case to answer," Mr Elms said, confirming an investigation had begun into the breach.

People shown inside Perth airport.
The man (not pictured) flew out of Perth (airport pictured) during the city's three-down lockdown. Source: AAP

In a statement on Tuesday, the health ministry said the public health risk was low.

"It serves as an important reminder that our public health response relies on accuracy and people fully complying with the safety measures that have been put in place by both countries," it said.

Arrival ban to be lifted Wednesday

"The actions of one person could jeopardise quarantine-free travel with Australia for everyone."

NZ paused travel from Western Australia from Saturday to Monday in light of Perth's three-day lockdown.

Late on Tuesday, Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand would lift its ban on arrivals from Perth as of midday on Wednesday.

"The government is satisfied the risk is low, based on the advice of the Director-General of Health, and that the trans-Tasman Bubble is working largely as planned," he said.

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