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NZ flights to Australia can resume: Hunt

Australia is reopening its doors to New Zealand travellers after health authorities gave the go-ahead.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd made the recommendation that the pause in flights from NZ did not need to be extended.

“The Commonwealth has accepted this advice, meaning green zone flights will commence this afternoon,” Mr Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.

He said the acting CMO noted there have been no further confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community in New Zealand since the initial three cases originated from transmission within hotel quarantine.

Professor Kidd also noted all close contacts of the three New Zealand cases have returned negative test results, and there have been no further cases found to date in the casual contacts, previous residents of the hotel or hotel staff.

Mr Hunt said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will continue to monitor the situation in New Zealand very closely.

“(It) will receive daily reports from the New Zealand health authorities on the results of the continuing contact tracing related to this outbreak,” he said.

Prof Kidd later told reporters it was recommended pre- and post-flight screening be implemented for the next ten days, as there is still a small risk of further cases being detected.

“As well as being screened for possible symptoms of COVID-19, this screening will check that travellers have not been identified as close contacts of the infected cases who have not visited any of the contact tracing areas of interest in New Zealand,” he said.

“And if they have, that they have been tested and they have received negative test results and clearance as required by the New Zealand authorities.”

For people to travel from NZ to Australia, they must have been in NZ for 14 days and been in quarantine as necessary.

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