Covid 19 coronavirus: Quarantine-free travel with Western Australia resumes today

New Zealand will reopen quarantine-free travel with Western Australia from midday today, despite a person managing to fly here during Perth’s lockdown.

New Zealand immediately suspended quarantine-free travel to and from Perth shortly after Friday’s announcement that Western Australia would go into lockdown after a breach at a hotel quarantine site.

Western Australia’s lockdown came only days after the transtasman bubble opened.

During the lockdown, a person was able to travel from Perth to Sydney and on to New Zealand on April 26.

New Zealand health officials said yesterday that the person, who had since travelled on to Northland, was self-isolating.

“Immigration’s border operations became aware of this person’s arrival during routine passenger screening checks after they arrived in Auckland,” the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

Immigration NZ launched an investigation into how the person was able to enter the country.

“While the public health risk has been assessed as low, it serves as an important reminder that our public health response relies on accuracy and people fully complying with the safety measures that have been put in place by both countries. The actions of one person could jeopardise quarantine-free travel with Australia for everyone.” the Ministry of Health said.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government was satisfied that the risk was low for resuming quarantine-free travel with Western Australia, based on the advice of director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced that while the lockdown in the Perth and Peel regions would end, some restrictions would remain, including mask-wearing and a 20-person limit for private indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Hipkins said that the restrictions in Western Australia were an “additional layer of assurance”.

New rules for travellers from “very high-risk countries” will also come into force from midnight tonight, meaning New Zealand permanent residents from four countries where Covid is rampant would not be able to come directly to New Zealand.

New Zealand citizens, their parents, partners and children of Kiwi citizens would still be able to come home from those countries – India, Brazil, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.

While it means New Zealand citizens in India – who have faced a temporary ban on travel to New Zealand since April 11 – would be able to come home, they now face fresh hurdles.

The United Arab Emirates has suspended flights from India until May 4, cutting off a major route to New Zealand – via Dubai – for Kiwis in India.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson signalled yesterday that the Government is working closely with Indian officials to establish what the nation could do to help.

“Along with the rest of the international community, we’re poised to support India.”

Speaking to TVNZ’S Breakfast show, he said: “It’s awful. Our heart goes out to the people in India.

The situation in India has become crippling – with more than 2000 deaths and 350,000 new Covid cases being reported each day.

“I know a number of countries have already got oxygen and other things coming in and we’ve just got to back the Indian Government and the Indian community to get past this terrible situation they’re in at the moment,” Robertson said.

Eight new cases of Covid-19 were reported in New Zealand’s managed isolation facilities yesterday – and none in the community.

The eight travellers infected with the virus arrived in New Zealand between April 12 and 25.

Four of the border cases announced yesterday arrived from Pakistan, two from Japan, and one each from the USA and Germany.

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