Australia has suspended quarantine-free travel with New Zealand due to the new community cases of COVID-19 detected in Auckland. The concern is serious as the strain is the variant of B1.1.7, itis one of the most transmissible variant first detected in the UK.
On the other hand,New Zealand has also locked down Auckland to contain the virus. In an urgent meeting, Sunday evening, Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, confirmed that initially,all flights originating in New Zealand would be classified as “Red Zone” flights for the next 72 hours from Monday. Following this, anyone arriving via these flights will have to go through a 14-day hotel quarantine.
Earlier, the countries had a travel bubble that allowed passengers to travel without any quarantine from Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand Prime Minister,JacindaArdern, said that genomic sequencing of the latest COVID-19 community cases showed they were the variant B1.1.7, the more transmissible variant first detected in the UK.“We were absolutely right to decide to be extra cautious because we assumed it was going to be one of the more transmissible variants,” Ardern said in a Facebook Live post on Monday.
The Prime Minister also announced restrictions in Ardern raised restrictions in Auckland to Level 3 until Wednesday. Public venues and gatherings will be prohibited, except for weddings and funerals of up to 10 people. Schools will stay open for children of essential workers, but others have been asked to stay home.