WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Australia on Thursday extended its suspension of quarantine-free travel with New Zealand, as the Pacific Island nation investigated two new positive cases of the South African COVID-19 variant.
Australian Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said the travel pause on green zone flights from New Zealand to Australia was extended until Sunday.
“This allows continuing protection of the people of Australia, while the extent of the situation in New Zealand continues to be clarified,” Kidd told a news conference.
Australia suspended a one-way “travel bubble” with its trans-Tasman neighbour for 72 hours earlier this week after New Zealand confirmed its first case in months on Monday.
Since then, two people have tested positive to the South African variant of the coronavirus, and all cases are linked to the same quarantine facility in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
The new infections come as New Zealand was ranked the