Australia Aust-NZ bubble in Q1 still doable: Ardern
New Zealand-Australia travel bubble suspension extended as guests from Auckland's Pullman Hotel make their way across the Tasman
Australia's trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand will remain shut until Sunday at least, with concerns around a number of Auckland's Pullman Hotel guests who have made their way to Australia. Here's the state of play.The decision made by the Federal Government comes as more cases have been confirmed in New Zealand, with more testing and contact tracing underway across the ditch.
Jacinda Ardern is holding the line on a first quarter trans-Tasman bubble with Australia, believing it is still possible despite new community cases of coronavirus in New Zealand.
"We still hold that ambition," she said in Auckland on Thursday, despite a squabble with Australia over its border arrangements.
While all international arrivals to New Zealand have been forced into a fortnight of hotel quarantine on arrival since April, Australian states have relaxed restrictions to Kiwis travelling to Australia from late last year.
New Zealand suffers first Covid-19 infection for two months
The more contagious South African mutant strain was discovered in a 56-year-old woman who had flown back from London after visiting Spain and the Netherlands. She tested positive ten days after her mandatory 14-day quarantine ended.New Zealand hasn't had a covid case since mid-November because it has a zero covid strategy of strict border controls. It has recorded just 25 coronavirus deaths.Australia shutdown the country's travel-bubble with New Zealand for at least 72 hours while further contact-tracing is carried out.
On Monday, the Australian government reinstated the 14-day quarantine requirements in response to a new case in the community north of Auckland.
Ms Ardern criticised that decision, saying she told Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison of her disappointment, and that Kiwi health authorities had the situation "well under control".
She said New Zealand was sharing information with Australia in the hope of reopening the border.
"I've never got the sense that would be a long term position for them. They are ultimately just waiting for a bit more information," she said.
"I've asked ... officials provide all the information that we have so they can make their decisions. We absolutely want them to have the confidence we have in our system."
NRL clubs anxiously awaiting COVID-19 player bubble decision for 2021 season
NRL clubs are on standby as they wait for the ARL to make a call on whether players will need to enter a biosecurity bubble ahead of this year's season.With Queensland lifting border restrictions imposed on residents in Greater Sydney at the start of February, the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) is hopeful that the competition remains on track with few restrictions on players.
Trans-Tasman bubble discussions have previously fallen over based on the two governments' differing views on the number of cases required to produce a lockdown.
Under its hotspot model, Australia proposed to lock down areas only when community cases reached 30 over three days.
New Zealand wouldn't tolerate that, believing the tolerance level to be too high.
Given Australia has moved to suspend the border opening based on just one case, Kiwis have found this week's decision tough to stomach.
Since Australia's decision, a further two people have tested positive for the virus in the community - though, crucially, there has been no evidence of community transmission.
The Labour prime minister said she would look to pursue state-by-state bubble arrangements if a whole-of-Australia approach was too difficult.
"What we want to make sure though is that when we enter into an arrangement, we don't have a situation where we leave people stranded," she said.
"I think both (countries) are concerned about that and there's good commercial reasons to be concerned about that too."
Bubble tea boss is charged with assault after allegedly slapping staff .
The 39-year-old Adelaide man was arrested on Tuesday evening after footage of the alleged incident went viral and sparked outrage online. He allegedly assaulted the 20-year-old female inside the store on Gouger Street, Adelaide, last Friday night.