NZ capital on alert, flights with NSW suspended after visitor tests positive

Sydney, Australia, Jun 23 (EFE).- New Zealand’s capital region on Wednesday was moving up one Covid alert level and the country suspended flights with New South Wales, Australia, after a visitor to Wellington tested positive for Covid-19 upon return to Sydney.

“We’re moving the Wellington region into alert level two from 6pm tonight through to midnight Sunday after a positive case from Australia visited Wellington City,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on her social media accounts.

“While they tested positive in Australia, they were here in New Zealand over the weekend and we want to make sure we’re taking a cautious approach.”

The travel bubble between New Zealand and New South Wales was suspended for at least three days from Wednesday following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Australian state.

State capital Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, recorded 16 new local infections in the past 24 hours.

New Zealand’s Level 2 means greater social distancing measures in the capital as well as the Wairarapa and the Kapiti Coast, and the mandatory use of masks on public transport, among other restrictions.

The infected traveler’s four close contacts were notified Tuesday night, and have all tested negative so far, but were in isolation.

Passengers on both in inbound and outbound flights were being contacted.

The infected person visited some 20 tourist attractions, shops and restaurants in the capital from June 19-21.

Australia, which like New Zealand is among the countries that have best managed the pandemic, is facing an outbreak of the Delta variant, which was detected last week in the tourist neighborhood of Bondi, with a total of 31 infections in Sydney

New South Wales authorities imposed social restriction measures in the Sydney metropolitan area and surrounding populations as of Wednesday.

Australia, which has been living a normal practice for months and only broken by short and localized confinements to quickly control outbreaks, has accumulated about 30,400 cases, including 910 deaths, and has vaccinated about 5.7 million inhabitants, of which more than 864,000 have received two doses.

New Zealand has registered 2,723 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, including 26 deaths, while it has vaccinated more than 567,000 people, including 324,500 with the full schedule, and is to start inoculation of the general population. EFE


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