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Trans-Tasman travel bubble decision expected today

A decision about the status of the trans-Tasman bubble is expected today as Australia’s Covid-19 situation worsens. 

Planes at Auckland Airport (file picture). Source: istock.com

Yesterday, Cabinet met virtually to consider whether New Zealand's bubble needs to be paused to the whole of Australia. It is already closed off to three states: NSW, South Australia and Victoria. 

That meeting finished last night, and the outcome of those discussions will be announced today. 

However Air New Zealand say they uploaded an incorrect inflight message yesterday afternoon telling passengers an extended pause of quarantine-free travel with Australia was in place.

"Air New Zealand recorded and uploaded a new voice message at 5pm on Wednesday 21 July in response to large increases in call volumes. With Quarantine Free Travel paused from a number of Australian states, we found customers were confused about their ability to travel and the team tried to simplify the message," Air NZ's Leeanne Langridge said.

"Unfortunately in this case the simplification has led to an incorrect message that the New Zealand Government had announced an extended pause of quarantine-free travel with Australia. This is a rapidly changing environment and our teams are doing their best to get the most up to date information to customers, we apologise that in this case we may have added to the confusion."

The Government's review of the travel bubble comes after cases continue to climb in NSW, despite the state having been in lockdown for weeks. The state recorded 124 locally-acquired Covid-19 cases yesterday, the highest figure yet in the current outbreak. 

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With Covid outbreaks in a number of Australian states, there’s a possibility of an extended pause. Source: Breakfast

Victoria recorded 26 new local Covid-19 cases, all linked to the current outbreak. 

Meanwhile, South Australia’s Covid-19 cluster grew from six to 12 yesterday. 

After months of criticism, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologised for the country's sluggish vaccine rollout.

“I'm sorry that we haven't been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year. Of course I am,” he said yesterday.

Quarantine-free travel bubble pauses between New Zealand and NSW, Victoria and South Australia were extended into next week on Wednesday.