Queensland removes New Zealand as ‘safe travel country’, travellers now have to quarantine

Queensland has removed New Zealand as a “safe travel country”, Queensland Health has announced.

Travellers from New Zealand who arrive in Queensland from 6pm local time today will have to complete quarantine after the state removed New Zealand’s “safe travel country” status.

According to Queensland Health, the move comes after the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) was told the level of risk in New Zealand had increased.

“Unfortunately, over the past few days New Zealand has been recording some new positive cases, which is why we are closing the border from 6pm,” Dr Jeannette Young said.

“Anyone who is permitted to travel to Queensland from New Zealand will be required to quarantine on arrival.

“Acting with an abundance of caution has kept Queenslanders safe and that’s exactly the path we will continue to take.

“Things can change really quickly with this virus – we’ve seen that in other countries around the world, which is why I am asking Queenslanders to reconsider their need to travel to New Zealand.”

Queensland Health has also recommended all travellers who have been in New Zealand since February 21 to come forward, get tested and self-isolate until they have their results back.

The announcement comes following new Covid-19 community cases yesterday linked to the Papatoetoe cluster.

Young said New Zealand was still at a “critical stage” of its response to the latest outbreak.

“New Zealand is working very hard to contain this community transmission, but they are still in a critical stage of their response so we need to keep watching closely,” she said.

“Things can change really quickly with this virus – we’ve seen that in other countries around the world, which is why I am asking Queenslanders to reconsider their need to travel to New Zealand.”

Queensland was quick to announce the change despite no new community cases in New Zealand on Wednesday.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today it’s “business as usual” with no community cases and there was no evidence that would lead him to advise Cabinet to raise alert levels.

Bloomfield said yesterday’s news of new cases was “unsettling” but the Government’s contact tracing system was working well.

There are 11 community cases in New Zealand now – all are at the Jet Park MIQ and all share “very close” genome sequencing.

There were more than 600 people tested at Papatoetoe High School yesterday.

Queensland’s tough stance is in contrast to NSW after Premier Gladys Berejiklian requested Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern “return the favour” and open a transtasman bubble with Australia.

In a press conference yesterday, Berejiklian said Kiwis now need to “return the favour” to Australians after Scott Morrison resumed allowing New Zealanders to enter Australia quarantine-free.

She said they’ve been accepting of New Zealanders for some time and it’s time Ardern and her Government “pull their weight” in creating a two-way transtasman bubble.

“I’ve always hoped Prime Minister Ardern would return the favour to NSW because we’ve certainly been accepting New Zealanders since October/November last year,” Berejiklian told the media.

She has since put pressure on the New Zealand Government to get moving, saying there’s no reason why a bubble cannot exist now.

“I’ve always been robust and confident about our ability to have a transtasman bubble. I hope that happens sooner rather than later. There’s no reason why it can’t,” Berejiklian said.

New Zealand is considered a “green zone”, except for in Queensland, which allows Kiwis to travel into Australia freely, while the rest of the world is in the “red zone”.

Source: Read Full Article