Following a further public health assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s quarantine-free travel pause with Victoria has been extended to 11:59pm on Tuesday 22 June.
It has been determined that the risk to public health in New Zealand continues to decrease and, at this time, public health officials consider it unlikely there is further widespread community transmission in the state. However, in line with our precautionary approach we consider this short extension to be prudent.
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 5 day extension. 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 8 June, 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.
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 3 days of departure. A PCR test is required.
New South Wales
New Zealand health officials are also reviewing details of cases announced yesterday in New South Wales which appear to have a clear link to the border.
It is expected that further information will be provided on the NSW cases later today.
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 Tracer app, stay put if you are sick, and wear a face covering on all flights and public transport.