The pause in the Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble between New Zealand and NSW was lifted from midnight last night (Sunday), as NZ authorities declared that fears over a small Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney had eased.
A temporary pause in quarantine-free travel between the two destinations was announced on Thursday following conformation that two people had tested positive for the virus in the NSW capital city as a result of community infection.
However, since then no new cases have been reported in NSW and New Zealand has once again opened its borders to people from the state.
The country’s Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, said Kiwi health officials had determined the risk to New Zealand was low.
New Zealand takes a precautionary approach
“New Zealand has consistently taken a precautionary approach to keeping Covid-19 out,” he explained in a statement.
“Border controls are a key tool for stopping the introduction and spread of new cases from overseas and remain central to our elimination strategy.”
There has been criticism of some of the NZ actions, with the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reporting that “the country’s health authorities have not explained their overzealous approach, which saw NSW citizens hundreds of kilometres away from Sydney banned from travel”.
The news agency added that: “New Zealand’s Covid-19 website was also slow to reflect this decision, meaning northern NSW citizens who attempted to fly to NZ from the Gold Coast and Brisbane were upset when they were turned away.”
NSW decides to extend its current restrictions
Meanwhile, New South Wales has extended most of its Covid-19 restrictions for another week as state health authorities try to find the missing link between a quarantine case and the recent outbreak.
NSW Health said it had been unable to identify the link between a case in hotel quarantine and two cases of community infection in the eastern suburbs.
“Investigations are ongoing into the source of two locally acquired cases announced on Thursday,” NSW Health said in a statement yesterday. “They are household contacts of each other; a man and woman in their 50s from the eastern suburbs.
“Despite extensive investigations to date, NSW Health has not identified how the initial case, the man in his 50s, was exposed to Covid-19, which suggests he acquired the infection through brief contact with a currently unidentified person who was infectious in the community.”