Covid-19: Australia suspends quarantine free travel for New Zealanders for 72 hours

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The Australian Government has suspended quarantine free travel for New Zealanders for at least 72 hours in the wake of the Northland community case.

Airplane passenger with with respiratory mask looking at phone.

(File image).
Photo: 123RF

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said they were advised to stop the “green zone” travel arrangement for a minimum of 72 hours.

Hunt said the changes take effect immediately and the decision was made out of an abundance of caution to reduce the potential risk of the South African variant spreading through Australia.

The Australian Ministry of Health said all passengers currently en route would need to enter mandatory hotel quarantine for up to 14 days on arrival or follow the requirements of the relevant state.

It is advising New Zealanders with travel plans over the next 72 hours to reconsider their need for travel.

Air New Zealand is in the process of contacting passengers booked on flights to Australia over the next three days.

The airline said five flights would be impacted over that period and the airline is working to contact and re-accomodate those customers once they receive further advice from the Australian Government.

The airline currently operates quarantine free travel flights between Auckland and Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and transiting flights through Norfolk Island.

Anyone who arrived in Australia from New Zealand since 14 January is asked to get a Covid-19 test and self-isolate until they get a negative result.

Hunt said authorities were working out how many people have travelled to Australia from New Zealand during that period.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was told about the decision late this afternoon by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“I advised him that we have confidence in our systems and processes, but it is Australia’s decision as to how they manage their borders,” Ardern said.

-RNZ / ABC

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