Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern considers ‘additional restrictions’ on Australia as travel bubble threatens COVID-free status

“Today marks five days since the Sydney case left Wellington,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters on Friday. 

“That means that someone who was exposed during that time could have started to show symptoms by now so if you were at a location of interest and you’ve already had a negative test result earlier this week, that doesn’t completely rule you out.

“So make sure you continue to monitor for symptoms for at least 14 days through until at least another week.”

‘Not out of the woods yet’

Cabinet will meet on Sunday virtually to discuss the current alert level restrictions. 

“It’s important that we all stay vigilant, and that includes people who were on the 195 Air New Zealand flights that took off from Wellington over the weekend and on Monday. That’s flights across the country and trans-Tasman,” Hipkins said. 

Of the 1752 contacts, 532 have so far returned negative results, eight have gone back overseas, and the remaining 1212 are awaiting test results. More than 10,000 tests were processed on Thursday, but only just over 3700 were in Wellington. 

“We’re not out of the woods,” said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 

The traveler had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia, and Dr Bloomfield said it may have helped in preventing him from spreading the virus. 

Hipkins said officials have been monitoring the situation in Australia closely. 

“We keep a very close watch on Australia generally. We have a variety of different things we’ve set out in our trans-Tasman bubble guidance. We’ll be watching that very closely over the next 24 to 48 hours,” he said. 

“We’ve obviously got a pause with New South Wales which we’ve just extended. I think today’s announcement over there reinforces that that was the right thing to do when we made that decision.

“New South Wales do have a very good contact tracing system and they do lean heavily on their contact tracing system, so they are a bit slower to use those lockdown restrictions than other Australian states are.”

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