Australia to pause flights to NZ North Island until November

By Melissa Coade

Monday October 18, 2021

Chief medical officer professor Paul Kelly made the announcement in light of the COVID-19 Delta variant continuing to spread across NZ’s North Island.
Chief medical officer professor Paul Kelly made the announcement in light of the COVID-19 Delta variant continuing to spread across NZ’s North Island. (Markus Mainka/Adobe)

Australia is to pause flights to New Zealand’s North Island until November.

The decision was announced by Australian chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly at the weekend, as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread on New Zealand’s North Island.

In a statement, Kelly said that locally acquired cases had continued to spread on the North Island since the situation was last reviewed on October 12, including to parts of the island outside of the Auckland region. 

“Considering this, the Australian government will continue the pause of green zone flights from the North Island of New Zealand until 11:59 pm (AEST) on 31 October 2021, with all flights being classified as Red Zone flights until this time,” Kelly said.

From October 19 international flights to and from Australia to New Zealand’s South Island will resume subject to travellers being able to show they have been vaccinated, and show a negative COVID result from a pre-departure PCR test 72 hours before flying. Kiwi locals must also declare that they have not travelled or come from the North Island for any period of the 14 days before travelling. 

According to the current public health settings, Australia will not give green zone travel exemptions to any person who has been on the North Island in the last 14 days. Any person who has been identified by the NZ health COVID-19 contact tracing team as a person of interest will also not be eligible for green zone status. 

“All passengers on flights originating from the North Island of New Zealand up until 11.59pm (AEST) on 31 October 2021 will need to go into 14 days of supervised hotel quarantine on arrival in Australia and adhere to the requirements of the State and Territory in which they enter,” Kelly said. 

“As New Zealand authorities continue to address and contain this outbreak, further time is required to monitor the number of new cases of COVID-19 being identified. This information will help to determine the potential risk from people travelling quarantine-free from the North Island of New Zealand to Australia.”

The travel settings will be reviewed by the Australian CMO and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) will be revised as more information comes to light, Kelly said. 

“A further review of the travel arrangements will be undertaken on Saturday 30 October 2021,” he said.

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