New Zealanders stranded in Sydney are now looking at extended stays across the ditch after the city was plunged into a two-week lockdown as Covid-19 cases grew to 82.
Air New Zealand yesterday confirmed it was cancelling most flights between Sydney and New Zealand between now and July 9.
An Air NZ spokesperson confirmed one flight a day will leave Auckland for Sydney over the next 10 days. Currently, all return flights from Sydney to Auckland are operating as cargo-only services.
However, flights to Sydney from Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown have been cancelled. Travellers who were booked to fly out of one of these airports will have been redirected to Auckland.
Yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced further restrictions for NSW as infections in the state increased to 82 cases - with 29 new community Covid infections registered yesterday.
From 6pm last night, all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong went into lockdown until midnight on July 9.
Air New Zealand's customer teams are contacting impacted travellers with the option to rebook flights, put their flight into credit, or receive a refund if they purchased a refundable ticket.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health revealed two people who arrived from Australia on Friday are in managed isolation in Auckland after it was found they weren't eligible for quarantine-free travel.
Travellers from New South Wales are no longer eligible for quarantine-free travel from any Australian port.
One person, travelling from NSW, transited to Auckland through another Australian port and was "detected by Customs officials".
The other person is an Australian resident who cleared Customs through the e-gates but then realised they may not be eligible for quarantine-free travel. They rang Healthline for advice.
Auckland Regional Health's Medical Officer of Health says both passengers are a low public health risk, but they will spend 14 days in managed isolation.
Ministers will meet this morning to decide any changes to alert levels, and boosted by the news that so far there are no known community cases linked to the Sydney visitor.
The Ministry of Health announced yesterday that another 2345 tests had been processed in the greater Wellington region, and all returned negative.
That's despite confirmation the man who flew into Wellington on June 19, who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 after returning to Sydney, had the more infectious Delta variant.
So far, 2213 people have been identified as contacts, of whom 1441 have returned a negative result. Another 764 are being followed up or awaiting a test result. Eight have been "excluded from testing", the ministry said.
Wellington was put into alert level 2 this week, which will remain in force until at least 11.59 pm tonight. Leading scientists have previously told the Herald that positive test results from anyone linked to the Sydney tourist are most likely to have emerged already.
However, more test results will be sent to officials and ministers this morning. A press conference is scheduled for 1pm.