Sydney/NSW records 29 new community cases on day 1 of partial lockdown. Video / ABC
The transtasman quarantine free travel bubble has been paused for three days as of 10.30pm tonight.
This is the first time the bubble to all Australian states has been paused.
Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories will be paused from 10.30pm (NZT) tonight until 11.59pm (NZT) on Tuesday June 29.
Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins announced the bubble pause in a media statement at 9pm tonight.
“There are now multiple cases and outbreaks in Australia in differing stages of containment and the health risk for New Zealand in response to these cases is increasing,” the statement said.
The short bubble pause will also allow officials to consider the potential implementation of a range of measures to make the bubble safer, such as the introduction of pre-departure testing for all flights from Australia to New Zealand, Hipkins said.
The 72-hour pause to quarantine-free travel has meant Air New Zealand has had to cancel all passenger flights to New Zealand from Australia.
Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer Captain David Morgan said cargo-only services will continue to operate.
“We are in the process of contacting impacted customers, who are being provided the option to rebook, put their flight into credit, or receive a refund if they purchased a refundable ticket.”
Millions of NSW residents will go into lockdown tonight in the state’s latest attempt to stamp out Covid-19 infections spreading across greater Sydney.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced further rules for NSW as infections in the state increased to 82 cases.
From 6pm today, all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong will go into lockdown until midnight on July 9.
“As a result the Government has taken the precautionary step of temporarily widening the current pause with New South Wales to include all of Australia,” the statement from Hipkins’ office said.
“This short pause will give us time to get a better understanding of the developing situation and to consider the potential implementation of a range of measures to make the bubble safer, such as the introduction of pre-departure testing for all flights from Australia to New Zealand.”
“I acknowledge the frustration and inconvenience that comes with this pause, but given the high level of transmissibility of what appears to be the Delta variant, and the fact that there are now multiple community clusters, it is the right thing to do to keep Covid-19 out of New Zealand.”
Any travellers who were in Australia from June 21 onwards are being asked to monitor their health.
New Zealand travellers in Australia should follow the health instructions of the state or territory they are in.
Hipkins said the paused bubble is necessary considering the growing number of cases across Australia.
“We are in the process of contacting impacted customers, who are being provided the option to rebook, put their flight into credit, or receive a refund if they purchased a refundable ticket,” Captain Morgan said.
As of Thursday the travel bubble between Sydney and New Zealand was paused for a further 12 days. As of 6pm (local time), Sydney entered a two-week lockdown as Covid-19 cases in the city grew.
Today, Sydney recorded 29 new cases, the Northern Territory and Victoria recorded one community case and Brisbane recorded two community cases yesterday.