Thousands of people who recently travelled from Melbourne to New Zealand now need to isolate and get tested as Kiwi health authorities extend a travel pause with Victoria amid growing Covid-19 cases in the Australian state.
On this side of the Tasman, one new case of Covid-19 was reported in New Zealand managed isolation yesterday, two previously reported cases had recovered and the seven-day rolling average of new border cases sat at two.
Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins yesterday urged Kiwis in Victoria to "hunker down and follow the rules" as the Australian state settles into its fourth lockdown.
Hipkins announced yesterday the pause in quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Victoria would be extended by another seven days until at least 7.59pm on Friday June 4.
Victoria entered a seven-day "circuit breaker" lockdown at 11.59pm last night, with local residents required to stay home and only allowed out for limited reasons, including to get food and supplies and for exercise.
"In just 24 hours, the number of cases has doubled," the state's premier James Merlino said, as the number of active cases in the state grew to 34.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday introduced a legal notice ordering anyone who had been in the greater Melbourne area since May 20 to self-isolate and get tested.
The new restriction follows the requirement to self-isolate for those who had travelled back from Melbourne since May 11 and had been in a location of interest.
Bloomfield said while the risk was still considered low, the order came amid an increase in the number of "high risk" locations of interest in Melbourne visited by Covid-19 positive people – such as crowded and confined places like bars and clubs.
"There's a higher risk there. We think it's prudent to ask everyone who has been in Melbourne to isolate and be tested."
The Ministry of Health was in the process of contacting those who had visited the Australian city since May 20 to inform them of the new restrictions – with that number estimated to be around 5000.
Bloomfield said most people "get the message and immediately isolate" and he was expecting a "high degree of co-operation".
The Government is also considering other restrictions, such as whether pre-departure testing was needed.
At the same time, anyone in Australia who had visited a location of interest would not be able to travel to New Zealand within 14 days from the date of exposure – even with a negative Covid-19 test.