SYDNEY — Australia has suspended its partial travel bubble with New Zealand after New Zealand reported its first coronavirus case outside of a quarantine facility in two months.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday the suspension would last for three days and was being implemented out of an abundance of caution. Travelers affected need to cancel or face two weeks in quarantine upon arrival.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she’d told Morrison she had confidence in New Zealand’s systems and processes, but it was up to Australia to decide how they managed their borders.
Health officials in New Zealand say genome tests indicate the woman contracted the virus from another returning traveler just before leaving quarantine. However, there was no evidence the virus has spread further.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the 56-year-old woman had recently returned from Europe. During her mandatory two weeks in quarantine, she tested negative twice. She developed symptoms at home later and tested positive.
Officials say the woman appears to have caught the more infectious South African variant of the virus from another traveler on her second-to-last day in quarantine, and they’re investigating how the health breach happened.