Quarantine-free travel frozen with South Australia

By Will Trafford

The Trans-Tasman travel bubble has shrunk further as the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia has crossed yet another state line.

The NZ government has frozen quarantine-free travel with South Australia after cases of the highly contagious delta variant emerged in the state.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall placed the state into a 7 day lockdown yesterday as a fifth Covid-19 case was identified.

"The decision is based on public health advice from New Zealand officials," COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.

"We acknowledge this will be disruptive for travellers and organisations… However, given the current uncertainty and our consistently cautious approach to prevent COVID-19 from entering the New Zealand community, we are confident this is the right approach.”

The covid-19 community cluster that originated with a Bondi bus driver ferrying international flight crews to their hotel in Sydney has now crossed two state lines.

Victoria premier Dan Andrews extended his state lockdown a further 7 days yesterday as New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 78 new community cases.

Hipkins says New Zealand residents in South Australia will be able to return home on special repatriation flights but will require a negative COVID test 72 hours before departure.

"New Zealanders currently in Australia are being urged to return home as soon as possible." he cautioned.

Hipkins says the pause with South Australia will be reviewed in 7 days. Quarantine free travel with the ACT, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania remains unaffected.