Asia - Pacific, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Australia halts quarantine free travel with New Zealand

Air New Zealand also makes mask mandatory on all fights

Islamuddin Sajid  | 25.01.2021 - Update : 26.01.2021
Australia halts quarantine free travel with New Zealand


Australia on Monday suspended quarantine free travel for New Zealanders for 72 hours after a South African variant of coronavirus was detected in New Zealand.

In a statement, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the decision has been taken on advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee "to reduce the risk of this variant, which has been shown to spread more readily between individuals, entering the Australian community."

Genomic testing has shown that a 56-year-old woman from Northland region in the northernmost of New Zealand has the South African variant of the disease.

The Australian government said all travelers who arrive from New Zealand in the next 72 hours will be required to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine.

"It is recommended all passengers from New Zealand with a green safe travel zone flight scheduled in the next 72 hours, reconsider their need to travel," Hunt said.

Masks compulsory on Air New Zealand flights

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand made masks mandatory on all airline flights to and from the country.

Earlier, passengers had to wear masks on domestic flights and some international flights.

"Currently, customers travelling on the airline domestically, as well as between Australia, Rarotonga, Samoa, South Korea and Tonga are subject to local government requirements to wear masks inflight," the airline said in a statement.

Australia has so far reported 28,777 COVID-19 cases with 909 linked deaths.

New Zealand, which successfully controlled the spread of the disease, has 2,288 cases and 25 deaths.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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