NZ travel bubble with New South Wales paused from 11.59pm tonight over Sydney Covid cases

New Zealand is pausing the quarantine-free travel bubble with New South Wales from 11.59pm today for 48 hours, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told media today. 

Hipkins said officials in NSW had not yet been able to identify a chain of transmission between the Sydney community cases and a person in managed isolation, who has been linked to the cases.

He said they told him it was possible there was another person who could be infected and could be the link.

"We’ve weighed this up very carefully. We do need more information."

Flights from NSW will be paused for 48 hours, coming into effect from 11.59pm tonight.

"We will keep that under constant review."

He said if further information was gathered, the Government would be able to lift the restriction early, or extend it depending on the situation.

Before getting advice on the situation, Hipkins told media that "one of the things about pausing travel is that when you think about the lead times involved in that you want to make sure you're making decisions that are going to stick".

"Rather than pause travel and then a few hours later say you don’t need to anymore.

"The risk here is still very low, that doesn't mean there is no risk, so we'll continue to get advice."

It comes after NSW announced new restrictions for the next three days after a man from Sydney yesterday tested positive for Covid-19, while his wife tested positive today. 

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said genome sequencing linked the case to a traveller who arrived from the US last week and was in quarantine.  

Authorities were investigating how transmission occurred between the community cases and the traveller. 

"We can't find any direct link between our case, so what we're concerned about is there is another person that is as yet unidentified that infected our case, and then the hypothesis is that our case passed it on to the household, which is what we would believe because of the greater risk in households," Chant said. 

Earlier today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told New Zealanders in NSW to be vigilant around health messaging, their movements and to listen to updates and locations of interest.

New Zealand has previously put a halt on the travel bubble over Covid-19 cases in Western Australia.