14 Jul 2021

New Zealanders in Victoria should prepare for travel pause, Hipkins says

9:15 pm on 14 July 2021

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is advising New Zealanders not to travel to Victoria, while Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says a pause in the travel bubble with the state is possible.

Melbourne reported seven new community cases of Covid-19 today.

Chris Hipkins told Checkpoint he is waiting on advice from health officials who are currently talking to Australian colleagues.

"There are also a growing number of locations of interest that are of concern, including a sports stadium on Saturday and several pubs," Hipkins said in a statement.

"Public health officials are currently reviewing the situation in Victoria and will provide advice to me in due course," he said.

Meanwhile, MFAT updated its advice this evening, advising New Zealanders not to travel to the state.

Hipkins said New Zealanders in Victoria need to consider their position.

"If I was them I would be thinking, 'can I withstand a pause? So if there was a pause to be announced, would that be a massive problem for me?' If the answer to that question is yes then I would encourage them to be coming home to New Zealand sooner rather than later."

Hipkins said he is still waiting for information from his health officials but based on what he has seen through media reports he is very concerned about what is happening in Victoria.

"Very very early days in regards to only a small number of cases there but based on what we're seeing at the moment, certainly a pause would be the first response if this situation got to a point where we were particularly concerned about it."

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins at the Covid-19 media briefing on 14.7.2021.

Chris Hipkins said he is waiting on advice from health officials over the situation in Victoria. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Hipkins said he expected to receive further advice on the situation in Victoria later this evening and would keep it under constant review until a decision could be made about whether a pause was necessary or not.

The lockdown in New South Wales has been extended for two weeks - with Greater Sydney reporting about 100 new community cases each day this week.

It does not sound like there will be extra MIQ rooms available over Christmas holidays.

"The reality here is that we are doing everything that we can to support New Zealanders who are coming home to stay at home. We are not in a position where we can support people to come home for Christmas holidays," Hipkins said.

"We haven't released all of the rooms for the latter part of the year yet... We're expecting that the system will be full over the Christmas holiday period."

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