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The Ministry of Health during the evening last night alongside COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia will be paused due to two positive cases that were identified in Sydney.
Within the last two days, both cases have been investigated, while whole genome sequencing has already linked one case identified on Wednesday to a recent returnee that arrived in Australia from the United States. This is a household contact of the case that returned a positive test yesterday.
Epidemiological links are yet to be determined between the case yesterday and the returnee.
Health officials have assessed that there are several outstanding unknowns. It was the safest option to pause quarantine-free travel since yesterday until more information comes in over time.
Consistent reviews will take place to ensure the virus does not spread.
Locations of interest were released, and if anyone who is now in New Zealand who has been at one of them in Sydney at the relevant times should isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for further advice to get tested.
“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,” said Minister Chris Hipkins.
“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.”
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