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Jacinda Ardern has warned there are “consequences” for people breaking New Zealand’s coronavirus border controls after three Melburnians were caught trying to enter the country during the Australian city’s lockdown.
New Zealand has placed a pause on travel from Victoria given the current outbreak in Melbourne but authorities revealed on Wednesday the family was picked up at Auckland airport last week after flying in from Sydney.
The country’s director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, described the trio’s actions as “disappointing”.
“Those three people were identified when they arrived and were immediately transferred to a managed isolation facility in Auckland where they will remain for a 14-day period,” Bloomfield said. He said they had returned “day zero” negative tests.
The New Zealand Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, said they had provided the “incorrect information” but were still picked up by authorities.
“It was our staff at the border, doing what they do well, that uncovered that,” he said. “They were never allowed past the border. They were held there while that process took place and then they were transferred” to managed isolation and quarantine.
Hipkins said the usual process was for them to be placed in quarantine rather than being sent back to Australia. He said the trio would have to pay for their stay in hotel quarantine but any fines were a matter for the police.
The New Zealand Herald reported the group had been seeking to attend a funeral in Auckland this week.
The trans-Tasman bubble has been on hold between Victoria and New Zealand since 25 May, although some exemptions have been announced for New Zealand residents returning home.
The Ardern government is yet to say whether it will extend the pause on quarantine-free travel beyond 11.59pm on Thursday after Victoria announced it would ease restrictions from Friday.
Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, said the case demonstrated that people seeking to enter the country against government guidelines would be caught.
“There are multiple points where we can pick people up and we have,” she said. “Anyone considering breaching the rules we have in place, in this case the family, has been picked up and put into a managed isolation facility. There are consequences.”
Bloomfield suggested there could also be consequences for the trio when they returned to Victoria. Victoria police was contacted for comment.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Jacinda Ardern warns of ‘consequences’ after three Melburnians caught trying to enter New Zealand | New Zealand