Australia has extended its pause on quarantine-free travel for New Zealanders by three more days.
Australian health authorities are awaiting further information on two more positive cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, according to ABC News .
The federal government suspended its one-way Safe Travel Zone arrangement with New Zealand for 72 hours from 2pm on 25 January, prompted by a community case of COVID-19 detected across the ditch – the first for NZ in more than two months.
The 72-hour suspension was supposed to end at 2pm today.
This means New Zealanders travelling into the country will have to quarantine for 14 days, and those who entered Australia on or after 15 January will need to take a test and isolate.
The community case was discovered to be a highly infectious variant of COVID-19 first discovered in South Africa.
When the initial suspension was announced, Ardern expressed “disappointment” in the Australian government’s decision and said it would likely delay plans for a two-way travel ‘bubble’ by the end of March.
Earlier this month, New Zealand’s COVID-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, said the country would stay true to its plan to establish a two-way travel bubble by April, despite continued community transmission of COVID-19 in multiple Australian states.
Hipkins said the decision would be made based on “a range of health and border requirements … in order for a trans-Tasman Safe Travel Zone to commence”.
New Zealand allowed Cook Islanders to resume quarantine-free travel to New Zealand from 21 January.