Covid-19 alert issued for Australia-NZ flights

New Zealand and Australia opened up a so-called “travel bubble” in April. There have been periodic targeted suspensions since then due to small outbreaks in Australia. — AAP Image  Mick Tsikas  via Reuters

New Zealand and Australia opened up a so-called “travel bubble” in April. There have been periodic targeted suspensions since then due to small outbreaks in Australia. — AAP Image Mick Tsikas via Reuters

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told RNZ health officials were now considering a possible lockdown to curb any potential outbreak.

"Everything is on the table", he said.

Passengers wearing face masks disembarking from a commuter train at Wellington Railway Station in August.

New Zealand's Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday morning the traveller tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to Australia.

"We are assuming they were infectious in Wellington", he said.

Locations of interest that were visited by the confirmed case will be advised later when further contact tracing is taken.

Bloomfield said there would be "quite a number of exposure sites".

So far four close contacts have been identified and are isolating, the ministry said.

Based on the time of the onset of symptoms and the CT score it is most likely the person had contracted the virus in Sydney before to their visit to New Zealand.

The New South Wales health authority issued an alert late on Tuesday about the flights between Wellington and Sydney linked to the case.

The traveller has been in Wellington from Saturday, June 19 until Monday, June 21.

Bloomfield also revealed the Sydney Covid-19 case was with his partner and has four close contacts.

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We have widely recognized institutions, but today we are in a sad situation". Said Isabela Gouljor, a 20-year-old student who participated in the protest.

"This is a reminder we need to upgrade our alert-level situation".

Morgan said "from an operational perspective, we have been here before with pauses in quarantine-free travel with Australia over the past few months, and our teams are working hard behind the scenes to ensure our customers are kept up to date".

However, he said that order needed to come from the Government, not him.

Meanwhile, University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker is calling for half-levels to be added to the Covid-19 alert system to better respond to outbreaks.

New Zealand is vulnerable to an outbreak because its vaccine rollout has been slow.

But fresh concerns of an outbreak have emerged after the positive test for the unnamed male Australian tourist, who visited over a dozen locations including the national Te Papa museum, pubs, cafes, a bookshop and a hotel during his trip over last weekend.

The Health Ministry spokesman said genome sequencing was now under way in Australia to see if the case was linked to the current outbreak in Sydney.

NSW Health did not provide a list of possible exposure sites in Wellington, or any other New Zealand centres.

There are now 21 cases linked to the growing Bondi cluster - but Premier Gladys Berejiklian dampened fears a lockdown was imminent, saying most infections have been linked back to a source.

"The bigger challenge is the contact tracing for this visitor while they were here and we obviously need to know more about the nature of their movement".

"With this particular Delta it looks as if you are very much more infectious".

New interstate travel restrictions were imposed early this morning between Victoria and New South Wales, requiring permits and in some circumstances, quarantine.

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