New Zealand pauses travel bubble after Covid-19 outbreak in Australia

A family reunites upon arrival from New Zealand at Sydney International Airport on April 19, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand on Friday (April 23) paused its newly opened travel bubble with Australia, the government in Wellington said, after a Covid-19 outbreak in its larger neighbour.

"As set out in our Trans-Tasman bubble protocols, travel between New Zealand and Western Australia has been paused, pending further advice from the state government," a statement on the New Zealand government website said.

The decision came after Western Australia announced that the regions of Perth and Peel were entering a three-day lockdown, starting midnight Friday to Saturday, due to a traveller testing positive for the coronavirus.

The decision to lock down followed "a positive Covid-19 case from hotel quarantine who was active in the community," a statement on the Western Australia government website said.

Local media reported that a man in his 50s flew into Melbourne from Perth on Wednesday and tested positive for the coronavirus earlier on Friday.

He underwent the legally-required quarantine in a Perth hotel and had gone to restaurants, a university, a public pool, a doctor's office and a friend's house before leaving the area.

"He spent up to five days in Perth, and we now need to assume he was infectious," Western Australia premier Mark McGowan told a press conference.

New Zealand and Australia had opened their quarantine-free travel bubble on April 18.

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