Face masks now compulsory on all trans-Tasman flights as NZ introduces stronger air travel restrictions

Masks are now compulsory on all trans-Tasman flights effective immediately, ‎Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced on Thursday.

The new regulations come after three new cases of COVID-19 were found in New Zealand this week after the country had no active cases for several days.

Dr Bloomfield said most passengers flying to New Zealand from Australia have come from other international flights and were only transiting through Australia, therefore he felt the risk of potential spread was higher and masks should be worn.

He said the two cases from Tuesday, as well as Thursday's single new case, all originated from international flights that landed in Australia, with passengers then transferring to New Zealand-bound flights.

There are also new, stricter rules for Air New Zealand cabin crew travelling overseas. They now have to self-isolate on return and provide a negative test result before they are able to return back into the community.

Dr Bloomfield said restrictions placed on cabin crew from other airlines were just as strict, with one airline even restricting cabin crew from leaving the airport upon arrival, keeping them there until their next flight.