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New Zealand has extended its suspension of quarantine-free travel until midnight on Sunday, when it will restore regular travel links with New South Wales.
The country enacted the travel pause on Thursday in response to two new community cases of Covid-19 in Sydney.
NSW health officials still have not identified the missing link between the positive tests and quarantine, however New Zealand’s Covid-19 minister, Chris Hipkins, is satisfied the risk to Kiwis has dissipated.
“There has been close liaison between the health agencies,” he said.
Hipkins said the NSW risk assessment was that “the two community cases in Sydney are contained and that there is no evidence of widespread undetected community transmission”.
New Zealand’s travel ban to the entire state was in stark contrast to other Australian states, which largely chose only to ban travellers who had visited exposure sites.
The country’s health authorities have not explained their overzealous approach, which saw NSW citizens hundreds of kilometres away from Sydney banned from travel.
New Zealand’s Covid-19 website was also slow to reflect this decision, meaning northern NSW citizens who attempted to fly to NZ from the Gold Coast and Brisbane were upset when they were turned away.
Contact tracers contacted 5,477 people who arrived in NZ from NSW in the past week, urging them to monitor their symptoms.
One person, identified by NZ Health, was asked to quarantine after visiting an exposure site. That person had since returned a negative test from their stay in managed isolation.
NSW again diagnosed no new locally transmitted cases from more than 22,000 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday but authorities issued an alert for customers who visited Double Bay Woolworths.
Anyone who attended the store between 10.45am and 11.00am on Monday, 3 May must get tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received.
Sydneysiders were being urged to wear masks and adhere to other restrictions without cancelling their Mother’s Day plans.
The restrictions – which extend to the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and the Illawarra – would remain in place until at least the end of the weekend. They include compulsory masks on public transport and a 20-person cap on indoor gatherings.
But the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, did not want the curbs to suppress Sydneysiders’ spirits, encouraging residents to keep their Mother’s Day bookings for Sunday and continue supporting local businesses.
Liquor and Gaming NSW was urging businesses to do the right thing over the weekend too. Compliance officers would be out in force across the state, checking venues were Covid-safe.
Businesses can be fined up to $5,000 and forced to shut their doors for defying Covid rules, including the requirement all patrons check in.
“Now is not the time to get complacent, the Covid safety requirements are in place for a reason, and all venues need to make sure they are fully compliant,” the director of compliance, Dimitri Argeres, said.
Officers would also be checking those participating in the NSW government’s Dine & Discover voucher program were complying with its rules.
“This includes not artificially inflating prices or allowing customers to use the vouchers to buy restricted products,” Argeres said.
Meanwhile the Australian Olympic Committee said the vaccination of Australian athletes for the Tokyo Games would commence on Monday.
“(We have had) countermeasures predicated on there being no vaccine, so that situation has improved – the Games are going ahead,” the AOC chair, John Coates, said on Saturday.
“All of the precautions we are taking are aimed at the health of the athletes and the health of the people of Japan.”
Coates also said a decision on whether local spectators would be permitted to attend the Games is expected to be announced at the end of May.
The AOC said vaccination for Australian athletes would commence on Monday, while also confirming the AOC would pay for the athletes’ quarantine.
The AOC is running the rollout for the Australian Olympic team and the Paralympic team, which will commence on Monday in the five mainland capital cities and at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Trans-Tasman bubble: New Zealand to lift NSW travel ban on Sunday night | Coronavirus