New Zealand travel bubble with NSW on pause as Covid cluster fears rise

The growing Covid outbreak in NSW has forced New Zealand to pause its quarantine-free travel bubble with the state.

The pause will be in place for 72 hours at this stage, but that will be reviewed according to New Zealand’s Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

“While the overall risk to public health in New Zealand currently remains low, there are still several unknowns, including a case that was infectious while in the Sydney community and a primary-school-age child with no clear link established at present,” Hipkins said.

The announcement comes after a Sydneysider who travelled to Wellington tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving home. It is believed the traveller caught the virus in Sydney.

“This is the first time an Australian traveller has brought COVID-19 to NZ, and since gone home,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“New Zealand authorities were notified by their Australian counterparts Tuesday evening and the established processes of contacting the case’s close contacts and getting further information about their movements while in Wellington was initiated.

“At this stage four close contacts have been identified and are isolating.”

Closer to home, Queensland has also closed its border to visitors from an additional six Sydney council areas from 1am tomorrow.

The new hotspots are the Sydney, Bayside, Woollahra, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick council areas, in addition to the Waverley Council area a hotspot.