New Zealand pauses travel bubble with NSW after backflip

·2-min read

New Zealand health authorities have reversed a call from earlier in the day, closing the trans-Tasman bubble with New South Wales.

On Tuesday, a further 10 cases were revealed in New South Wales, bringing the Bondi COVID-19 cluster to 21.

The new cases were enough for New Zealand to roll up the drawbridge, beginning a 72-hour pause with Australia's biggest state that will prevent eastward travel from Wednesday to Friday.

"While the overall risk to public health in New Zealand currently remains low, there are still several unknowns," COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Mr Hipkins said a case that was infectious while in the Sydney community and a primary school aged child without a link to the cluster influenced the decision.

A passenger prepares at Sydney Airport, in Sydney, Australia. Source: AP
New Zealand health authorities have reversed a call from earlier in the day, closing the trans-Tasman bubble with New South Wales. Source: AP

"The Government is taking a precautionary approach and will review the decision to pause again on Thursday."

The decision will trap Kiwi travellers to Sydney, given the government's "flyer beware" model that travellers do so at their own risk.

Earlier on Tuesday, the government announced its intention to continue to the bubble.

That press release was issued at exactly the same time as NSW released details of the new cases.

The pause to quarantine-free travel with NSW also ends hopes of a fully-operational bubble.

New Zealand paused travel from Victoria on May 25 in response to the latest community cases in Melbourne.

While it allowed Kiwi travellers to return after they'd completed a fortnight in isolation, the Victorian bubble will come back online at precisely the same time the NSW bubble is shut down.

Earlier on Tuesday, officials also revealed 16 recent arrivals to New Zealand had visited locations of interest listed from the recent outbreak in NSW.

People who have visited locations of interest are not allowed to fly.

Should they learn of the location of interest after travelling, they are required to isolate at home until testing negative to COVID-19.

Of the recent 16 travellers, none have produced positive tests to date.

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