News Coronavirus Tasman flights resume as Australia goes two weeks without a COVID community transmissions

Tasman flights resume as Australia goes two weeks without a COVID community transmissions

Flights from NZ have resumed after no new Australian cases for two whole weeks. Photo: AAP
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Christmas is long gone, New Year and Australia Day too, but now there is another date to celebrate: Today, January 31, which marks two full weeks of no community COVID-19 transmissions anywhere in the country.

The last time the virus halted its lethal onslaught for 14 consecutive days was between February 16 and 29, 2020.

The welcome news comes as ‘green zone’ travel between Australia and New Zealand was reinstated, and few people were happier about the return of Trans-Tasman flights than Michael Kidd, the acting chief medical officer.

“Green zone flights from New Zealand into Australia are now judged to be sufficiently low risk, given New Zealand’s strong public health response to COVID-19,” Professor Kidd said.

“Given there is still a small risk of further associated cases being detected and with an abundance of caution, I’ve recommended to the Australian Government that pre- and post-flight screening be implemented for all safe travel zone flights from New Zealand for the next 10 days.”

The resumption of flights comes as New Zealand health authorities continue to trace and test close contacts of three knownCOVID cases, with no further infections dected so far.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will continue to closely monitor the situation in New Zealand.

“(It) will receive daily reports from the New Zealand health authorities on the results of the continuing contact tracing related to this outbreak,” he said.

Prof Kidd stressed that the resumption of flights would not cxome at the cost relaxed precautions.

“As well as being screened for possible symptoms of COVID-19, this screening will check that travellers have not been identified as close contacts of the infected cases [and] who have not visited any of the contact tracing areas of interest in New Zealand,” he said.

“And if they have, that they have been tested and they have received negative test results and clearance as required by the New Zealand authorities.”

For people to travel from NZ to Australia, they must have been in NZ for 14 days and been in quarantine as necessary.