Australia moved late last night to extend its suspension of the one-way travel bubble with New Zealand despite Covid-19 alert level restrictions having been reduced throughout Aotearora, with assurances from Kiwi health officials that the latest community outbreak is under control.
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It comes as New Zealanders get many freedoms back, but as the latest Auckland community Covid cluster has grown to six.
The quarantine-free travel bubble will be closed for three more days.
It means anyone travelling to Australia up until midnight on Saturday will need to enter 14 days’ hotel quarantine.
Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Sunday, while the rest of the country moved to Level 2 restrictions, for three days following the discovery of three Covid-19 cases in the community. At 11.59pm last night, Auckland moved down to Level 2, while life returned to normal at Level 1 for the rest of the nation.
There are now six community cases in total, but the three new cases announced yesterday involve members of a single family — with one family member having gone to school with one of the original cases.
But Australian officials say the unknown source of the new outbreak remains a concern.
“Time is required to complete the testing of contacts of the first three cases and contact tracing of the three new cases to determine if there is any spread in the community and the potential risk from people travelling quarantine free to Australia,” the Australian Government Health Department said late last night in a statement.
“We appreciate that New Zealand is continuing its investigation. However, it remains a concern that the source of the infection in the community remains unknown; these cases have not travelled internationally nor have been in quarantine facilities.
“A further 72 hour pause provides the time required to confirm this cluster remains contained.”