New Zealand says it is halting quarantine-free travel from New South Wales while it investigates the source of two COVID-19 cases announced in Sydney.

  • People who have travelled from Sydney to New Zealand in the past week will be contacted 
  • If they have been in a location of interest they will be asked to isolate and get tested
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is concerned someone could be unwittingly spreading the virus in the community

“I’ve made the decision to pause flights from New South Wales for a period of 48 hours,” New Zealand’s Minister For COVID-19 Response, Chris Hipkins, said at a press conference.
The pause will come into effect at midnight. 
“We weighed this up very carefully. It’s a finely-balanced decision,” he said. 
“We do acknowledge that there’s the potential to disrupt people’s travel.”
In a statement, he said the “several outstanding unknowns in the situation in Sydney” meant it was safest to pause quarantine-free flights.
The travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand opened less than a month ago.
The NSW government brought in new restrictions today after a second case of community transmission was comfirmed.
The latest case is the wife of a man in his 50s who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. 
“Those people who have travelled to New Zealand from New South Wales over the past six days will be contacted,” Mr Hipkins said. 
“They will be asked, if they have been in one of the locations of interest, to isolate and to seek a test.”
Gladys Berejiklian has appealed for people to follow new restrictions as NSW faces a potential new COVID outbreak.(AAP: Joel Carrett
Health investigators have matched the genome sequence of the Sydney cases to a returned traveller from the United States who was in hotel quarantine and was taken to special health accommodation last month.
But the link between the US traveller and the man in his 50s is yet to be established.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was concerned there was at least one other person with the virus who could be unwittingly spreading it in the community.
“At least one person has been going [about] their business and we haven’t found them yet,” she said.
“We don’t know where they’ve been, we don’t know if they’ve been to major events, we don’t know who they sat next to.”
Federal Labor senator for NSW Kristina Keneally told Afternoon Briefing that “New Zealand will follow its own medical advice”. 
“What the case and potential outbreak here in New South Wales shows is that this pandemic is far from over,” she said. 

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