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Victoria travel bubble pause extended; all recent visitors from Melbourne to be tested

The pause in New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel with Victoria will be extended until 7.59pm on Friday, June 4, after yesterday’s announcement in Melbourne of a growing number of cases, more exposure events and the high risk nature of some of these events, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Victoria has put in place a seven-day lockdown from 11.59pm last night, with local residents now required to stay home following confirmation of additional locally-acquired cases of COVID-19, increasing exposure sites and a large and growing number of close contacts.

The pause extension is based on the public health risk assessment to further protect New Zealanders. Our public health staff remain in close contact with Victorian authorities about the actions being taken in Melbourne.

In Australia, the 14-day travel restrictions for those who have visited locations of interest means they are ineligible to travel to New Zealand within 14 days from exposure – even with a negative COVID-19 test.

In addition to the extension, the Ministry of Health is updating advice for those who have been in Melbourne recently.

The Ministry of Health has previously contacted everyone who has returned to New Zealand from Melbourne since 11 May and provided advice on checking locations of interest and the actions required.

The Director-General of Health is now requiring everyone who has visited the Greater Melbourne area since May 20 to isolate at their place of residence until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.

This is an additional cautious step. The number of locations of interest around Melbourne has grown substantially, making it difficult for visitors to easily keep track.

A Section 70 notice is being issued under the Health Act putting this in force.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of contacting all those who have visited Melbourne since 20 May to inform them of the new restrictions.

In New Zealand the COVID-19 test is free for New Zealanders and visitors when testing is advised by a health professional.

The situation in Melbourne reinforces the importance of continued and frequent use of the NZ COVID Tracer app in allowing health authorities to quickly trace contacts.

The variant of COVID-19 being found in Melbourne is the B.1.617.1 variant which was first reported in India.

It is considered more infectious than the original variant.

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