Victoria travel bubble pause extended, recent Melbourne returnees must isolate and get tested

The pause on the quarantine-free travel bubble with Victoria is being extended a further seven days, while people who were in the greater Melbourne area between May 20-25 will now need to get tested for Covid-19 and self-isolate under orders from Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 

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It comes as the Victorian capital plunges back into lockdown. Source: 1 NEWS

The travel pause extension will be in effect until next Friday, June 4 at 7.59pm. 

The extension and new rules come as the Melbourne Covid-19 cluster continues to expand, growing to 34 cases, with 11 new Covid-19 cases reported today. The state of Victoria is going into lockdown from tonight to June 3. 

"Failure or refusal to comply is an offence," Dr Bloomfield said. 

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The travel pause with Victoria has been extended for another seven days. Source: 1 NEWS

"Anyone who has travelled to New Zealand who has been in the greater Melbourne area since the 20th, last Thursday, is required to isolate, be tested and remain isolated until they receive the test result."

Any person who had travelled back to New Zealand and had been in a location of interest or in the Whittlesea area since May 11 also need to isolate and be tested. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins estimated about 5000 people would be impacted by today's decision. 

New Zealand hit pause on the Victoria bubble on Tuesday at 7.59pm – lasting initially 72 hours. The pause was formally reviewed today, about 48 hours after it was first put in place. 

The pause was reviewed daily, but Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said it would be formally reviewed after 48 hours "because it gives us enough time to provide further advice whether a further extension is warranted". 

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Yesterday, Dr Bloomfield urged anyone in New Zealand who was in the Whittlesea area in Melbourne since May 11 to get a test, at least five days since being in the area. 

Dr Bloomfield also asked anyone who had been in Victoria since May 11 to keep a close eye on any symptoms of Covid-19 arising.

Earlier this week, Dr Bloomfield said he would like to get pre-departure testing for people who had been in the north-Melbourne area coming back into New Zealand. That would be done 72 hours prior to leaving.

"We'd like to make sure, as the situation evolves, we're able to put that requirement in place and then ensure people are abiding by that requirement."

According to New Zealand's bubble traffic light system, a pause is put in place in situations such as there being a case of an unknown source, most likely linked to the border while the state enters a short-term lockdown. 

A suspension is for situations where there are multiple cases arising from an unknown source and the state enters a longer-term lockdown.