The Ministry of Health has confirmed an Australia traveller from Sydney who visited Wellington over the weekend has tested positive for COVID-19.
New South Wales health department revealed on Tuesday night the passenger flew out of Sydney on flight QF163, arriving in Wellington on Saturday at 12:12am. They then returned to Sydney on Monday, June 21 on flight NZ247, which left at 10:13am.
The announcement said passengers on the flights are considered close contacts and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
New Zealand's Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday morning the traveller tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to Australia.
"Based on the time of their symptom onset and CT score it is most likely they contracted the virus in Sydney prior to their visit to New Zealand. Genome sequencing is underway in Australia to see if the case is linked to the current outbreak in Sydney."
This is the first time an Australian traveller has brought COVID-19 to New Zealand and since returned home.
"New Zealand authorities were notified by their Australian counterparts Tuesday evening and the established processes of contacting the case's close contacts and getting further information about their movements while in Wellington was initiated."
So far four close contacts have been identified and are isolating, the ministry said.
Locations of interest that were visited by the confirmed case will be advised later when further contact tracing is taken. People who have been at the sites will need to isolate and should contact Healthline for further advice.
"The ministry's contact tracing team has been in touch with the airlines about contacting passengers on these flights to provide advice.
"Australian health authorities will be contacting those on the return flight to Sydney to provide advice about testing and isolation.
"The ministry reminds everyone to please remain vigilant and stick to the basics: stay home if unwell and get advice about having a test, wash hands regularly, cough and sneeze into the elbow, wear masks or face coverings on all public transport, and keep track of where you've been - scan QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app dashboard."
This comes after New Zealand shut the border from New South Wales for 72 hours. The pause came into force from 11:59pm on Tuesday and will be in place for 72 hours initially. This decision will be reviewed on Thursday.
The decision came after NSW announced a community COVID-19 cluster in the Australian state ballooned by another 10 cases on Tuesday.
There are now 21 cases linked to the growing Bondi cluster - but Premier Gladys Berejiklian dampened fears a lockdown was imminent, saying most infections have been linked back to a source.
Further information on quarantine-free travel between NSW and New Zealand is available here.