New Zealand’s shock Covid cluster GROWS as a second quarantine worker tests positive putting a popular café on alert – as fears grow over Australia’s travel bubble
- The employee was from quarantine hotel Grand Millennium, in Auckland CBD
- They were a close contact of a security guard who tested positive last week
- The case has thrown the travel bubble between Australia and NZ into doubt
The employee from quarantine facility Grand Millennium Hotel, in Auckland CBD, tested positive to Covid-19 on Sunday.
Health officials do not believe the virus will continue to spread because the person has been self-isolating since they were identified as a close contact of a security guard who tested positive last week.
A new Covid case has been found in New Zealand, just days after the announcement that Australians would soon be able to travel across the ditch without quarantine
The security guard had complained of a sore throat in early April, but continued to work over Easter at the Grand Millennium Hotel before getting tested.
Of the new case, the Ministry of Health said in a statement: ‘This worker and their partner have this afternoon moved to the Auckland quarantine facility.’
Genome sequencing revealed the security guard’s infection was linked with a cleaner at the grand Millennium who tested positive on March 21.
‘The cleaner, known as Case A, and the worker who tested positive last week, are genomically linked to a returnee who arrived back in New Zealand on March 13,’ health authorities said.
NZ Director of Health Ashley Bloomfield believe the case is linked to arrivals to the country from India, which has seen 17 positive cases in isolation.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country has temporarily suspended any inbound flights from India.
The employee from quarantine facility Grand Millennium Hotel (pictured), in Auckland CBD, tested positive to Covid-19 on Sunday
‘This isn’t a permanent arrangement but a temporary measure,’ she told reporters on Thursday afternoon.
‘We have an obligation to allow residents to return home.’
The suspension will come into place on Sunday and will be lifted on April 28. She says there are no imminent plans to suspend travel from other countries.
The case has thrown the recently announced travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand into severe doubt.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday she would welcome Australian travellers without the need for quarantine from April 19.
Australians heading to New Zealand will be kept separate from other international arrivals who are still required to go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days.
Ms Ardern has said there will be no vaccine requirement when travelling in the trans-Tasman bubble, but strict Covid protocols will still be carried out.
Passengers will be required to undergo random temperature checks, wear facemasks during the flight and must download New Zealand’s Covid Tracer app.
Ms Ardern said despite her government’s tardiness in opening up, New Zealanders had ‘absolutely missed’ Australia over the pandemic
All travellers on board a ‘green zone flight’ must also have been in Australia for at least 14 days before departure.
The recent coronavirus outbreak in Auckland could see those plans scrapped however, with the government set to make an announcement on the new case with potential restrictions to be added.
Ms Ardern said despite her government’s tardiness in opening up, New Zealanders had ‘absolutely missed’ Australia over the pandemic.
‘I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we have absolutely missed you,’ she said on the Today Show on Wednesday morning.
‘We want you to come and see us again. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, that’s definitely the case for us here.
‘You won’t find a Kiwi that won’t have a story of someone in Australia that they have missed and they really want to welcome back.’
There are currently three other new cases in the country, all of which are in isolation.
The nation recorded no new cases of community transmission.