COVID-19: 'Another epidemiologist would be outraged' if Government didn't pause trans-Tasman bubble - Labour MP Greg O'Connor

Baker and O'Connor.
Michael Baker, left, and Greg O'Connor. Photo credit: Newshub.

A Labour MP is backing his Government's decision to pause all quarantine-free travel with Australia.

The trans-Tasman travel bubble was suspended for at least three days on Saturday night amid a worsening COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney that has grown to 80 cases.

Chris Hipkins, New Zealand's COVID-19 Response Minister, said the pause will last until at least 11:59pm on Tuesday.

But epidemiologist Michael Baker said given the fact "the green zone with Australia, in general, has worked well", he was "quite surprised" by the move.

Labour's Greg O'Connor, the MP for Ōhāriu, told Magic Talk's Sunday Cafe the Delta variant circulating across the Tasman is a threat.

"There'll be another epidemiologist who'll be outraged if we didn't do it, so this is science-based," he said when asked if suspending the bubble was the right decision.

The travel pause comes after restrictions were placed on greater Wellington earlier this week following a COVID-infected Sydneysider visiting the capital last weekend, but no community cases have been detected since.

Greg O'Connor.
Greg O'Connor. Photo credit: Newshub.

Officials will confirm on Sunday afternoon whether the region will move out of COVID-19 alert level 2 at midnight as planned.

O'Connor said the Government needed to take all necessary precautions, hence the reason for pausing quarantine-free travel.

He said news of a Virgin Australia cabin crew member testing positive for COVID-19 showed it looked like the situation was getting out of control.

"It's only three days [suspension] at the moment - it's just about taking stock and when you do this, there are always people who are going to get caught in the middle. You absolutely feel sorry for them but we were all told… this could happen."

In announcing the travel bubble pause on Saturday night, Hipkins said it would allow the Government "to get a better understanding of the developing situation".