The cases detected correspond to the British strain of the virus, which is up to 70% more contagious.
Australia announced on Monday the suspension of its travel bubble with New Zealand, after the detection during the weekend of three community infections of Covid-19 in Auckland, the most populous city, which has been confined by the New Zealand authorities.
After an emergency meeting on Sunday night, the Australian Ministry of Health decided that flights from New Zealand will be considered “red zone” for the next three days and all travelers from the country must comply with a mandatory quarantine 14 days in a hotel.
The travel bubble, applied intermittently since October, allowed New Zealanders to enter Australia without the need for quarantines, although it only worked in one direction, as travelers from Australia to New Zealand did have to be confined.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that the detected cases correspond to the British strain of the virus, which is up to 70 percent more contagious.
While the authorities are investigating the origin of these three new infections, the president has increased restrictions in Auckland, with the cancellation of public events and the prohibition of gatherings of more than ten people outside the home, except for weddings and funerals.
The measure taken by the Canberra government comes on the same day that the first 142,000 doses of the Pfizer pharmaceutical vaccine arrived on Australian soil, which will allow the start of the vaccination campaign as of February 22.
Both Australia and New Zealand are two of the countries that have best contained the covid-19 pandemic, thanks to the prompt taking of measures such as the closure of their borders. Australia has so far registered 28,900 infections, including 909 deaths, while New Zealand accumulates 2,336 infections, with 25 deaths.