Govt to receive advice on Victoria travel bubble pause tomorrow, before making decision

The Government will get advice tomorrow to make a decision on the Victoria travel bubble pause, as Australian officials extend the lockdown amid the Melbourne Covid-19 outbreak.  

Ministers Andrew Little, Ayesha Verrall and Chris Hipkins. Source: Getty

Possible options are being considered, such as a period of quarantine to reduce the risk, should there be a situation where Kiwis trapped in Victoria return to New Zealand while the state is still in lockdown. 

During today's Covid-19 press conference, prior to Victoria's lockdown extension announcement, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall was asked what measures were in place for Kiwis trapped in Melbourne, should the lockdown be extended. 

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The Associate Health Minister says travellers were told they may need to shelter in place for some time, should an outbreak occur. Source: 1 NEWS

"Our message from the very beginning of the trans-Tasman bubble has been flyer beware and that New Zealanders travelling to Australia need to understand that they may need to shelter in place for some time," Verrall said. 

"At this stage, if there is anyone experiencing hardship they should alert us through the Safe Travel website that contacts MFAT."

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said health officials would be providing updated advice tomorrow to Ministers about the current pause on travel from Victoria. 

Verrall said no decisions had been made at this stage.

"We're waiting until tomorrow to have that information and make that decision," she said. 

Melbourne's Covid-19 lockdown extended for seven days

Dr Bloomfield was asked about the risk of returning Kiwis and if they would need to go into MIQ facilities. 

A period of quarantine "is one way we might manage that risk", Dr Bloomfield said.

"We're looking specifically, if we are in a situation where people are coming back while there is still a lockdown for whatever reason, what the options might be for their travel back."

Dr Bloomfield said that included "the role of pre-departure testing, testing when they arrive and also the duration of a period of isolation and whether that needs to be in managed isolation or whether it could be at home".

"We're looking at all the options and that will be part of our advice."

On his view of the impact of Victoria's lockdown on the outbreak, Dr Bloomfield said they were doing "everything we would expect of them and everything they would do here".

"The nature of this variant of the virus seems to be suggesting it's more transmissible. The latest reports say that even fleeting interactions between people, admittedly in a closed space … has seen people infected."

Today Victoria's lockdown was extended for another week, with all restrictions remaining for greater Melbourne, while regional Victoria is set to see an ease in restrictions from Friday. 

New Zealand hit pause on the Victoria bubble last Tuesday at 7.59pm – lasting initially 72 hours. The pause was extended a further seven days until Friday June 4, at 7.59pm.