COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced his intention to pause Quarantine Free Travel from New South Wales to New Zealand while the source of infection of the two cases announced in Sydney in the last two days is investigated.
Whole genome sequencing has linked the case yesterday to a recent returnee who arrived in Australia from the United States. A household contact of yesterday’s case has today returned a positive test.
An epidemiological link is yet to be determined between yesterday’s case and the recent returnee.
While the new case announced today is not unexpected as a household contact of yesterday’s case, officials have assessed that with several outstanding unknowns in the situation in Sydney it is safest to pause QFT for any flights leaving New South Wales after 11.59pm tonight. This will be under constant review.
Information about locations of interest visited by the cases is available on the New South Wales health website: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/case-locations-and-alerts.aspx
Anyone who is now in New Zealand who was at one of the locations of interest in New South Wales at the relevant time should isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested for COVID-19.
Anyone who is in Australia who has been at one of the locations of interest is subject to the requirements of the New South Wales Government and should not travel to New Zealand.
New South Wales has put in place its own restrictions, details of which are available at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/news-and-media
The Government is aware this will cause some disruption to travellers but strongly believes a cautious approach is the best course of action while investigations continue.