The Australian government has extended the suspension of its Green Zone travel corridor with New Zealand for another 72 hours amid concerns about a potential community coronavirus outbreak.
The extension means the next flight to Australia from New Zealand will be at 2pm on Sunday, January 31 at the earliest.
Australian officials met at 12pm (local time) to discuss extending the pause on flights across the Tasman, which was first called earlier this week after our first community COVID-19 case in more than two months was detected.
In responding to the extension, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she retained confidence in our systems and processes, but acknowledged the decision was for the Australian government to make.
An Air New Zealand flight due to depart Auckland for Sydney on Thursday evening was cancelled just minutes before the announcement of the 72-hour extension.
In a statement, Air New Zealand said the flight was cancelled as any updates were expected after the planned departure time.
"We aren't expecting to receive updated advice from the Australian Government until after check-in has closed for flight NZ113 from Auckland to Sydney this afternoon. As a result, this flight has been cancelled," a spokesperson said.
Australia's decision to stop flights from New Zealand on Monday came after Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed the new community case had contracted the South African variant of the disease - a strain believed to be more transmissible.
Australia's Health Minister said at the time that the decision was made out an "abundance of caution" - but the sudden nature of the announcement irked some travellers, who were caught by surprise just minutes before boarding.
One, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke to Newshub about her ordeal.
"I decided to continue on. I really had nowhere to go and my father - who is here in Australia - told me to stay on the flight and deal with everything once in Sydney," she said.
However she says all the luggage was removed as it was too difficult to separate it.
"Now I'm here in Sydney and my two suitcases with what's left of Kiwi life are still somewhere in Auckland."
The passenger also told Newshub she wasn't happy being told she'll have to pay the $3000 fee to quarantine in a hotel.
"I personally don't think that is fair as I did everything right, made sure I had a green flight and did all the necessary paperwork. Not happy at all."