Covid 19 coronavirus: Ten new cases in MIQ as Kiwis in Melbourne get ready to return home

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 and 10 cases of coronavirus in managed isolation since Sunday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is three.

Five previously reported cases have now recovered, the Ministry of Health said in its update today.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 22.

Four of the new Covid-19 in MIQ came from Iraq, three from the Philippines, two from India, and one from Russia.

It comes as Kiwis stranded in Melbourne get ready to return after the Australian state of Victoria was plunged back into lockdown two weeks ago.

The special arrangement enables Kiwis stuck in Victoria the chance to get home on quarantine-free “green flights” despite the bubble between New Zealand and Melbourne remaining paused.

The green flights are aimed at the thousands of New Zealand citizens who have been stuck in the state’s lockdown while it battles a new emergence of community cases. They also apply to Australian citizens who hold current permanent residence visas and temporary residents who departed New Zealand after April 6.

The first Air New Zealand flight from Melbourne arrives in Auckland tomorrow night.
There will then be two flights a day between Melbourne and Auckland and, from June 11, daily flights from Melbourne to Queenstown, Wellington and Christchurch.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said they were seeing a pent-up demand in the first few days of green flights starting.

The return green flights will end when the travel bubble reopens. Flights remain paused until at leastJune 10.

As of Monday, Victoria had two new cases acquired locally and one from overseas, bringing its total number of active cases to 92.

Travellers must have a negative pre-departure test and those who have been at a location of interest cannot travel to New Zealand from any border in Australia within 14 days of exposure — even if they have produced a negative Covid-19 test.

Experts earlier told the Herald the risk of those returning to New Zealand on “green flights” bringing the Covid-19 virus with them remained “very low”.

Authorities said the lockdown meant travellers would have spent the equivalent of two weeks in isolation so were not required to go stay in a managed isolation facility.

They would be tested both on departure and arrival.

Despite Monday’s cases and concerns of the new more-infectious Delta variant rising, epidemiologist Dr Michael Baker said the risk continued to be “very low” and there were “very good measures in place”.

“There would always be a low risk of anyone bringing the virus back with them at the current rate of infection there, but with the lockdown and needing a test there and when they get back I think absolutely the risk remains very low.”

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