Travel between New Zealand and Western Australia has been paused after a case of COVID-19 spent five days travelling around Perth, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed on Friday night.
An Air New Zealand flight from Perth to Auckland was scheduled to depart at 7:45pm (local time) and arrive in New Zealand at 5:50am (NZ time). However, that flight has now been cancelled.
Any New Zealanders affected by the travel suspension are asked to follow the advice of Western Australian authorities, Hipkins said.
"New Zealand health officials are in contact with their Australian counterparts and are completing a risk assessment," Hipkins told Newshub in a statement shortly after 9pm.
"A flight due to leave Perth for New Zealand later tonight will not take off following Western Australia's decision, and any New Zealanders affected are asked to follow the advice of Western Australian authorities.
"All passengers on an earlier flight from Perth to Melbourne that carried a passenger later found to have COVID-19 have been contact traced and no-one on that flight has travelled on to New Zealand.
"This is an example of the type of scenario both countries have planned for."
Another update will be provided on Saturday.
On Friday, officials announced Perth will enter a three-day lockdown - starting at midnight - after a former guest at a local quarantine hotel tested positive for COVID-19 in Melbourne.
In a press conference, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan confirmed the lockdown will run over the long weekend.
"From midnight, people need to stay in the Perth and Peel regions and won't be able to leave unless you have an exemption," McGowan said.
Perth and Peel residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, essential shopping and medical needs. From 6pm (local time), masks will also be made mandatory.
A spokesperson for Air New Zealand confirmed Friday night's flight from Perth to Auckland has been cancelled.
"Air New Zealand flight NZ176 from Perth to Auckland this evening has been cancelled due to the three-day lockdown in Western Australia," the spokesperson told Newshub.
"Customers are being given the option to rebook, put their flight into credit, or receive a refund if they have purchased a refundable ticket."
Earlier on Friday, it was revealed a former guest at the Perth Mercure, a quarantine hotel, had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Melbourne, Victoria.
After completing his 14-day quarantine period, the man spent five days in Perth, visiting friends and socialising, McGowan said. He flew back to Melbourne on Wednesday, travelling on Qantas flight QF778.
"We now need to assume he was infectious during this five-day period," McGowan said during Friday's press conference.
The man was subsequently informed he was a close contact of another positive case at the hotel. According to local reports, he had stayed in the room adjacent to the case.
The man began isolating and sought a test for the virus. He returned his positive result on Friday, breaking Victoria's 56-day streak of no community cases.
The man is asymptomatic, officials said.
Now, a close contact of the man has also tested positive for the virus. According to local media, the close contact is a woman who lives in Perth.
Here's a recap of Friday's COVID-19 developments in Western Australia:
- All travel between New Zealand and Western Australia has been paused after a case of COVID-19 spent five days in Perth while potentially infectious
- A flight from Perth to Auckland scheduled for Friday night has been cancelled
- Kiwis in Western Australia who are affected by the travel suspension are urged to follow the advice of local authorities
- Perth and Peel will enter a three-day lockdown at midnight after the new case tested positive for COVID-19 in Melbourne on Friday morning
- The man had recently completed a 14-day quarantine in a Perth hotel after arriving in Australia from Shanghai. His room was situated close to other positive COVID-19 cases staying in the hotel
- After returning a negative result on day 12 of his stay, the man left the hotel on day 14. He spent five days in Perth visiting restaurants, friends and another accommodation provider
- The man is a close contact of another COVID-19 case in Perth
- In a press conference on Friday, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said "we now need to assume he was infectious during this five-day period" - referring to the five days the man spent in the region after leaving quarantine
- A close contact of the man has also tested positive for COVID-19.