New Zealand pauses travel bubble with Victoria

New Zealand will pause its trans-Tasman bubble arrangement with Victoria from Tuesday evening after the Melbourne outbreak grew to five cases.

Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Covid-19 Response Minister, announced on Tuesday that an initial 72-hour pause would come into effect as of 7.59pm NZT.

He said the travel pause would remain under “constant review” as it had with other previous pauses.

The decision comes after Melbourne recorded one new locally acquired infection on Tuesday, after four were previously announced at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

“While the case announced today is not unexpected as a contact of a case announced yesterday, New Zealand officials have assessed that the most cautious option is to pause the travel bubble with Victoria as there are still several unknowns with the outbreak,” Mr Hipkins said.

“The government understands the disruption this will temporarily cause affected passengers. It was a close call but the correct one given the current unknowns.”

New Zealand’s Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the travel bubble pause on Tuesday. Picture: Hagen HopkinsSource:Getty Images

Mr Hipkins said anyone who was currently in NZ who had been to one of the exposure locations listed on the Victoria Health website needed to contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 as soon as possible to receive testing and isolation advice.

Those who visited Melbourne since May 11 have also been asked to monitor for symptoms and seek advice if they develop.

Genome sequencing of the infections reported on Monday show they are closely linked to the Melbourne man who contracted the virus while isolating in hotel quarantine in Adelaide.

But, an epidemiological link is yet to be determined between the cases.

New restrictions will come into effect for Greater Melbourne as of midnight on Tuesday.

This includes having the number of people at private gatherings limited to five, only 30 people are allowed at a public gathering and face masks must be worn while in doors for everyone aged 12 and over unless an exemption applies.

An updated list of exposure sites were provided by Victoria Health overnight, where a Woolworths and Nandos restaurant were some of the new locations that were added.

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