Coronavirus: Queensland suspends quarantine-free travel with New Zealand

For the time being, Kiwis can't fly to Brisbane or anywhere in Queensland.
For the time being, Kiwis can't fly to Brisbane or anywhere in Queensland. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Australian state of Queensland has removed New Zealand as a "safe travel country" following 11 cases in Auckland's community in the recent outbreak.

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said earlier on Thursday that as of 6pm (local time), travellers from New Zealand who arrive into the state will have to go into quarantine.

"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," she said.

Three new cases were announced on Tuesday and one of these is a Papatoetoe High School student who is linked to the original cases.

"Anyone who is permitted to travel to Queensland from New Zealand will be required to quarantine on arrival," Dr Young said.

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

Health authorities also ask that all travellers in Queensland who have been in New Zealand since February 21 come forward, get tested, and isolate until they get their results. The guideline also applies to anyone who has entered from February 6 who hasn't already had a test after arriving in Queensland.

"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," Dr Young 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."

New South Wales has also announced extra measures following Auckland's latest cases. Health authorities are contacting travellers who have arrived from New Zealand since February 20 on quarantine-free flights to see if they've been at any locations of interest. Additionally, these people are also being asked if they're feeling well and to get tested for COVID-19 and isolate while they await their result.

"A notice is now in effect specifying Auckland as a hotspot. This requires people arriving in NSW from New Zealand who have been in Auckland, including the airport, to enter hotel quarantine for 14 days. Alternatively, they may choose to depart Australia," NSW Health says.

This hotspot identification comes into effect on February 25.