ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Coronavirus

Australia suspends travel 'bubble' with New Zealand as Auckland goes into lockdown

All flights originating in NZ would be classified as Red Zone flights

People wearing masks walk through a mostly empty domestic terminal at Sydney Airport in December 2020.   © Reuters

WELLINGTON (Reuters) -- Australia has suspended quarantine-free travel with neighbouring New Zealand after three new community cases of COVID-19 were detected in Auckland over the weekend.

New Zealand said on Sunday it was locking down its largest city after new cases emerged in the country, which has been credited with virtually eliminating the virus within its borders.

Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, convened an urgent meeting late on Sunday and it was decided that all flights originating in New Zealand would be classified as "Red Zone" flights for an initial period of 72 hours from Monday.

"As a result of this, all people arriving on such flights originating within this three-day period will need to go into 14 days of supervised hotel quarantine," Australia's Department of Health said on its website.

The travel bubble was set up so that New Zealanders could get to Australia without needing to spend 14 days in a hotel, although quarantine was mandatory for people travelling in the other direction.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that genomic sequencing of the latest COVID-19 community cases showed they were the variant B1.1.7, the more transmissible variant first detected in the UK.

"We were absolutely right to make the decision to be extra cautious because we assumed it was going to be one of the more transmissible variants," Ardern said in a Facebook Live post on Monday.

The source of the new cases is still unknown as results do not link directly to any other positive cases detected in New Zealand to date.

Ardern raised restrictions in Auckland to Level 3 through Wednesday, shutting public venues and prohibiting gatherings outside homes, except for weddings and funerals of up to 10 people. Schools will stay open for children of essential workers but others were asked to stay home.

The COVID-19 alert for the rest of the country was raised to Level 2, with all gatherings limited to 100 people, including at restaurants and cafes.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more