New Zealand halts travel bubble with Victoria amid Melbourne’s COVID-19 outbreak

The New Zealand government has paused its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Victoria until it receives more information about the growing COVID-19 in Melbourne.

Victoria has put in place restrictions limiting the size of gatherings and requiring the use of face coverings indoors, following confirmation of a fifth locally-acquired case of COVID-19. However, the cluster in Melbourne’s north has since grown to 15.

The quarantine-free travel pause between New Zealand and Victoria came into force from 7:59pm (NZT) last night, and will initially remain in place for 72 hours initially.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, said the travel bubble pause with Victoria was due to “several unknowns” with the Melbourne outbreak.

“The government understands the disruption this will temporarily cause affected passengers,” he said in a statement.

In Australia, the 14-day travel restrictions for those who have visited locations of interest means they are ineligible to travel to New Zealand within 14 days from exposure – even with a negative COVID-19 test.

Anyone in New Zealand who has been at a location of interest in Melbourne at the specified time should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 as soon as possible for advice on isolating and testing.

Anyone who has visited Melbourne since 11 May should monitor for symptoms and seek advice from Healthline if any symptoms develop.

It’s the second time this month that New Zealand has paused trans-Tasman travel, having already implemented a 48-hour pause with NSW due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the state.

Other Aussie states and territories have introduced restrictions for travellers from COVID exposure sites identified by Victoria’s Department of Health, but none of them have closed their borders.

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