Australia has suspended quarantine-free travel with neighbouring New Zealand after three new community cases of Covid-19 were detected in Auckland over the weekend.
The travel bubble was set up so that New Zealanders could get to Australia without needing to spend 14 days in a hotel, although quarantine was mandatory for people travelling in the other direction.
On Sunday, Auckland’s residents were plunged into a new three-day level 3 lockdown through Wednesday, shutting public venues and prohibiting gatherings outside homes, except for weddings and funerals of up to 10 people. Schools will stay open for children of essential workers but others were asked to stay home.
The Covid-19 alert for the rest of New Zealand was raised to Level 2, with all gatherings limited to 100 people, including at restaurants and cafes.
The source of the new cases is still unknown as results do not link directly to any other positive cases detected in New Zealand to date.
Over in Australia, the state of Victoria is currently undergoing a five-day snap lockdown that began on Saturday, as authorities similarly raced to prevent a third wave of Covid-19 cases sparked by the highly infectious UK variant.