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New Zealand expects Australia 'travel bubble' to stay open despite new COVID-19 case

New Zealand expects Australia 'travel bubble' to stay open despite new COVID-19 case

A passenger at Sydney Airport prepares to catch a flight to New Zealand on Apr 19, 2021. (Photo: AP/Rick Rycroft)

AUCKLAND: New Zealand authorities reported on Tuesday (Apr 20) that a worker in Auckland airport has tested positive for COVID-19, but doubted whether the new case would warrant ordering a pause in quarantine-free travel with Australia.

Australia and New Zealand opened a travel bubble on Monday, after both countries had closed borders in March 2020 to non-citizens and permanent residents to contain the pandemic.

"When we opened, on both sides, we of course knew we would continue to have cases connected to our border," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. "We accept that's going to be part of our journey together, I think Australia accepts that."

New Zealand's health authorities were liaising with their Australian counterparts, Ardern said, with no initial indication that the so-called "travel bubble" would be halted.

READ: Families reunite as Australia-New Zealand travel bubble begins

The infected worker, who was fully vaccinated for the virus, had been cleaning airplanes coming from countries with known COVID-19 outbreaks, Ardern told reporters in Auckland.

The worker had tested negative on Apr 12 but on Monday tested positive as part of routine testing, she said, adding that contact tracing was underway.

Border closures, snap lockdowns and speedy tracing systems have helped Australia and New Zealand keep their COVID-19 numbers relatively low.

Australia has recorded just over 29,500 virus cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began, while New Zealand has had just over 2,200 confirmed cases and 26 deaths.

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Source: Reuters/zl


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