Trans-Tasman travel bubble suspended again amid NSW outbreak

The Trans-Tasman travel bubble has been suspended after a few cases of COVID community transmission appeared across Sydney.

While only two community cases have been identified – a husband and wife – NSW authorities have yet to identify the “missing link” that transmitted the virus from the returning traveller into the community:

“What we’re concerned about is that there is a missing link. We can’t find any direct link between our case, so what we’re concerned about is there is another person as yet unidentified that infected our case,” [Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said] said on Thursday…

In response, New Zealand announced a 48 hour suspension of the travel bubble with NSW effective from midnight last night:

[Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins] said while the new case announced today is not unexpected as a household contact of yesterday’s case, officials have assessed that with several outstanding unknowns in the situation in Sydney it is safest to pause the QFT from 11.59pm today. This will be under constant review…

“We do acknowledge this has the potential to disrupt people’s travel.”

Flights from NSW were paused from 11.59 tonight for 48 hours he said.

The pause could be extended if further information comes to light.

“This isn’t a decision we take lightly.”

How can anyone have confidence to travel when our governments are so quick to pull up the shutters at the first sign of infection?

NSW has shown that its management of COVID-19 is first rate, successfully eliminating outbreaks without lockdowns, while also managing to take the lion’s share of the nation’s international arrivals.

So for New Zealand to suspend travel after only a few cases among a city of more than five million people is overly rash and illogical.

“Sovereign risk” has well and truly engulfed the travel industry. Nobody can be confident to book travel when there is the clear and present danger that abrupt border closures, lockdowns or isolation requirements will be imposed, smashing travel plans.

Unconventional Economist
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