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New Zealand pauses travel bubble with NSW for another 12 days

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New Zealand has extended its pause on quarantine-free travel with New South Wales for another 12 days as Sydney’s coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

NZ’s Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said his government believes in “a cautious approach”.

“There are now 36 recent community cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales – including four not yet linked to the existing outbreak that are urgently being investigated by Australian health officials,” Mr Hipkins said.

“This decision follows a further public health assessment today in which officials consider a range of factors – whether any new cases are identified, the results from COVID-19 testing of any contacts identified and from the wider Sydney community.”

New Zealand's travel bubble with NSW has been paused.
New Zealand’s travel bubble with NSW has been paused. (Bloomberg)

The travel bubble pause first came into effect at 9.59pm AEST on Tuesday (11.59pm NZ time).

“As with previous pauses, it will be under constant review,” Mr Hipkins said in a statement.

“This decision follows a public health assessment today which determined that 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. 

“The government is taking a precautionary approach and will review the decision to pause again on Thursday.”

New Zealand health officials have also updated their advice for anyone already in New Zealand who has recently visited Sydney’s Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, where community transmission of the virus has been as confirmed as occurring.

Victorians are no longer required to test negative before departing for New Zealand but are encouraged to monitor for symptoms and check the Victoria Health website for updated locations of interest.

In the past week, there have been no new COVID-19 cases of the Delta variant and health officials have determined there is unlikely to be widespread community transmission.

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