The federal government has reacted swiftly to a COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand by suspending all flights coming from across the ditch for three days.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, convened an urgent meeting yesterday with chief health officers from the three states open to New Zealand ‘green zone’ flights – NSW, Queensland and Victoria – to discuss the three-day lockdown in Auckland due to an outbreak of three new COVID-19 cases.
It was decided at the meeting that all flights originating in New Zealand will be classified as ‘red zone’ flights for an initial period of 72 hours from 12.01am today.
As a result, all people arriving on such flights within this three-day period will need to go into 14 days of supervised hotel quarantine.
Kelly said no flights were due to arrive in Australia from New Zealand last night.
“States will determine how to manage people who have already arrived in Australia from New Zealand and who may pose a risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus,” he said.
“The national incident room will assist states and territories by seeking relevant flight manifests.”
Kelly said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will consider further updates from New Zealand today, and provide advice regarding the management of travel arrangements between New Zealand and Australia.
The suspension marks the second time that the one-way travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been halted, with the former enacting a similar 72-hour pause last month after the first community case of COVID-19 was detected across the ditch in more than two months.
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