Trans-Tasman bubble burst as passenger flew from Auckland to Perth without first going into quarantine

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Huge bungle uncovered in trans-Tasman bubble after traveler flew from Cook Islands to Perth via Auckland without first quarantining in New Zealand

  • Cook Islands passenger flew to Perth without first quarantining in NZ
  • People on the Air NZ flight are allowed to disembark as Cook Islands have zero cases
  • Three trans-Tasman travel bubble violations have been reported in four days

A woman flew to Perth from the Cook Islands without being quarantined in New Zealand, on her way to the final breakthrough of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

The health department of Western Australia and Air New Zealand have confirmed that the Cook Islander had not been quarantined in Auckland prior to her flight to Perth, despite being required to do so.

She arrived Friday at 1:30 p.m. Perth time on Air New Zealand flight NZ175 and was transported to a quarantine hotel in the city.

A series of trans-Tasman travel bubble breaches have endangered quarantine-free travel between Zealand and Australia – including a case where a woman from abroad flew from Auckland to Perth without first going into quarantine

She will stay there for 14 days and undergo mandatory Covid tests.

“We have been notified of a passenger onboard NZ175 Auckland-Perth who today is not eligible for quarantine-free travel to Australia,” Air NZ said.

The airline said it was working with WA authorities and the next steps were up to them.

A WA Health spokesperson confirmed that the passenger should have been quarantined before flying into NZ – although the Cook Islands have not recorded positive Covid cases.

“ The Department of Health is aware of a Cook Islands woman who arrived in Perth today from Auckland without spending two weeks in quarantine in New Zealand, ” a statement said.

But because “it is very unlikely that the passenger could have COVID-19,” passengers were allowed to disembark in the usual manner.

Passengers were not tested for Covid-19 or told to isolate themselves until they returned a negative test.

Sydney Airport passengers are bound for their quarantine-free flights to New Zealand

Sydney Airport passengers are bound for their quarantine-free flights to New Zealand

“The use of personal protective equipment and cleaning at Perth Airport and on the plane are standard practice today,” said WA Health.

The breach comes after two passengers from Papua New Guinea – considered a high-risk location for Covid-19 – mingled with travelers for their quarantine-free flights to NZ from Brisbane airport.

One of the two PNG nationals later tested positive for Covid-19, which resulted in any loose contacts coming near the man having to isolate themselves until they returned a negative test.

Brisbane airport passengers with Qantas and Air NZ going to NZ were asked to isolate themselves in NZ after poetically coming into contact with a positive Covid case at the airport

Brisbane airport passengers with Qantas and Air NZ going to NZ were asked to isolate themselves in NZ after poetically coming into contact with a positive Covid case at the airport

Authorities believe 390 people on three Air NZ and Qantas flights from Brisbane to Auckland and Christchurch may have been affected, although the likely number of people near the PNG passengers was smaller.

The incident was considered a ‘green zone violation’ as PNG is a red zone or high risk country while New Zealand is a low risk country.

The trans-Tasman bubble enables quarantine-free travel between the green zone countries of Australia and New Zealand.

Before that breakthrough, a man from Perth flew to Auckland while his hometown was trapped on Tuesday.

NZ authorities later said he should not have been flying.

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