NSW authorities issue health alert for New Zealand travellers after COVID-19 case

A file photo of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Source: Getty

NSW authorities have issued an alert for recent Kiwi arrivals after a COVID-19 case leaked from New Zealand's hotel quarantine system.

New Zealand appears likely to avoid a fresh lockdown despite a new COVID-19 case being identified in the community.

On Sunday, health authorities revealed a 56-year-old Northland woman had tested positive for the virus after completing her 14-day isolation on arrival to New Zealand.

The woman returned two negative tests while in her compulsory hotel stay, and was released on 13 January before travelling around the region with her husband.

On Monday morning, COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins revealed two of the woman's six identified close contacts - her husband and her hairdresser - had returned negative tests.

"That's some good news," he told Radio NZ.

On Monday morning, NSW Health issued an alert for recent Kiwi arrivals.

Those who arrived in NSW from New Zealand since 14 January should check the venues of concern listed by New Zealand health authorities and, if necessary, follow the country's health advice.

They have also been told to seek testing in NSW with even mild symptoms.

New Zealand travellers are permitted to enter NSW without undergoing 14 days of hotel quarantine due to "travel bubble" arrangements.

The New Zealand alert comes as interstate travel restrictions on NSW residents began to ease over the weekend.

'Good sign'

Health officials are continuing to rapidly contact trace the woman's contacts and movements, asking for people who have interacted with her to isolate and get tested.

"Her husband would without doubt be her closest contact. That coming back negative is a good sign. We'll know more as the day unfolds as to what the overall risk of this case is," Mr Hipkins said.

The woman has been praised by authorities for tracking her movements using the government's COVID Tracer app and reporting her symptoms to health workers.

The health department has released a list of the 28 places she visited on her travels since being released, including supermarkets, cafes and retail stores.

Mr Hipkins said new testing stations were being opened in Northland but the case wouldn't prompt the government to tighten its border regime.

"We haven't got any evidence that the 14-day isolation and two tests isn't sufficient," he said.

"Around 100,000 people that have gone through that process, not one of them has taken COVID-19 out into the community with them."

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