COVID-19: New Zealand/Australia one-way Quarantine-Free travel corridor closed for 72 hours
Auckalnd, New Zealand has recorded the first case of community transmission since 18 November 2020. The person is a recent arrival who spent 13 days in quarantine. During that period she returned negative tests. A week out from quarantine, she reported symptoms and was tested. She is carrying the South African variety of the virus, which is through to be more transmissible.
Non-quarantine for arrivals from New Zealand suspended
As a precaution, Australia has suspended the scheme whereby New Zealanders could arrive in Australia without having to serve 14 days in quarantine, although they would need to serve time in quarantine on their return to New Zealand. The suspension came into effect on 25 January, and will last (at this stage) until 28 January.
Any passengers who arrived from New Zealand in Australia since 14 January have been asked to self-isolate and get tested. Two flights were scheduled to arrive late on Monday, and those passengers would have got a nasty quarantine surprise on arrival.
The 56 year old women who tested positive flitted to over 30 different venues in NZ, but was highly responsible in registering at each venue via QR code. She has also been very co-operative with contact tracers.
Its believed she caught the virus from another arrival isolated in a room on the same floor of the quarantine hotel she stayed at. Its believed the overlap happened on her 2nd to last evening at the hotel. She tested positive on 23 January about a week after she had left the hotel.
Lets hope they work out how the transmission occurred quickly, so that the one-way travel bubble can return – and we hope be extended to a two-way bubble in the near future.
This knee-jerk reaction from Australia’s health minister – Greg Hunt is a portend of the way small outbreaks will be met in the future. This must make the airline and other travel related industries very nervous. Talk about having to be agile.
Still, this is the way we need to react to continue to have the relative normality of life we currently enjoy, unlike most of Europe, and don’t even think about mentioning any of the Americas.