New South Wales travel pause to be lifted tomorrow

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the current travel pause with New South Wales will lift tomorrow – subject to no further significant developments in NSW.

“New Zealand health officials met today to conduct a further assessment of the public health risk from the recently identified COVID-19 community cases in SydneyIt has been determined that the risk to public health in New Zealand remains low,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Consequently, the Ministry of Health is advising airlines that flights can resume from 11:59pm tomorrow (Sunday 9 May) subject to there being no further significant developments.

“This is good news and aligns with the lifting of NSW restrictions at 12.01am on Monday 10 May 2021.

“I am pleased with the way the response process has been managed this week. There has been close liaison between the health agencies, and this is reflected in the sound advice our respective Governments have received,” said Chris Hipkins.

There is some specific advice for travellers to be aware of:

  • Flights from New South Wales to New Zealand to resume at 11:59pm Sunday 9 May - subject to no significant developments in New South Wales. 
  • Anyone who is in Australia and was at any of the locations of interest at the times specified is asked to follow NSW health advice regarding isolation and testing and MUST NOT travel to New Zealand within 14 days from when they were at the location.
  • As before, anyone who has arrived in New Zealand and who was at a location of interest at the specified time must self-isolate immediately and call Healthline for information on when they should be tested. 

Direct flights from NSW to New Zealand were paused at 11:59 pm on 6 May, pending further information and reassurance from the NSW health investigation into two cases of COVID-19 in the Sydney community. 

Since the two cases were confirmed in Sydney last week, there have been no new community cases of COVID-19 detected in New South Wales.  

New Zealand health officials have considered a range of factors, including whether any new cases had been identified,  the results from COVID-19 testing of any contacts identified and from the wider Sydney community, and the results from waste-water surveillance testing.   

Following this risk assessment and a review of these factors, they have been reassured that at this stage the two community cases in Sydney are contained and that there is no evidence of widespread undetected community transmission.  

There will be some additional public health measures  required for people who are or have recently been in Sydney. 

  • The current NZ focus is on people who were at a location of interest rather than all of New South Wales.  
  • Anyone who is travelling to New Zealand from Australia will be required to follow some additional instructions in order to limit any risk of further spread.  
  • Airlines will continue to ask people departing Australia whether they have visited any locations of interest in New South Wales both before and when disembarking from their flights.  
  • A Section 70 notice has been issued under the Health Act with a number of requirements for any person in New Zealand who attended a known location of interest or any locations of interest that are identified subsequently. More information on what a section 70 notice is and what it means for these people, is available on the Ministry of Health website.  

“Our officials remain in close contact with health officials in NSW and will continue to closely monitor the situation.  Updates will be provided if there is any change to this latest advice,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We acknowledge that this travel pause has caused disruption to peoples travel plans.  

“New Zealand has consistently taken a precautionary approach to keeping COVID-19 out. The Government's overall public health strategy in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic is elimination. Border controlsare a key tool for stopping the introduction and spread of new cases from overseas and remain central to our elimination strategy.

Information about quarantine-free travel between New South Wales and New Zealand is available on the COVID19 website: 

https://covid19.govt.nz/travel-and-the-border/quarantine-free-travel/quarantine-free-travel-with-australia/new-south-wales/ 

Information about locations of interest visited by the cases is available on the New South Wales health website: 

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/case-locations-and-alerts.aspx