The one-way travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has reopened and "green zone" flights will commence from Sunday afternoon.
Quarantine-free travel was initially suspended for 72 hours after a COVID-19 case was detected in Northland on Monday. Two further cases in Auckland prompted the suspension to be extended until 2pm on Sunday by the Australian government.
But based on "new information" from New Zealand on Sunday, Australia's acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd recommended the government didn't extend the pause in safe travel zone flights beyond 4pm on January 31 (NZ time).
In making this recommendation, Professor Kidd noted there haven't been any further confirmed community cases in New Zealand since the initial three cases and said all close contacts of these cases have returned negative test results.
"The Acting CMO notes flights from New Zealand are sufficiently low risk given New Zealand's strong public health response to COVID-19," a statement said.
"Given there is a small risk of further associated cases being detected in New Zealand, with an abundance of caution, the Acting CMO has recommended pre and post-flight screening be implemented for the safe travel zone flights for the next ten days.
"The screening will check that travellers have not been identified as close contacts, or have not visited any of the contact tracing areas of interest in New Zealand, and if they have, that they have been tested and have received the negative test results required by the New Zealand authorities."
Currently, to be eligible to fly on a safe travel zone flight, passengers must have been in New Zealand for the previous 14 days. Professor Kidd said time spent in MIQ facilities isn't part of this 14-day requirement.
"The [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee] will continue to monitor the situation in New Zealand very closely, and will receive daily reports from the New Zealand health authorities on the results of the continuing contact tracing related to this outbreak."