Australia has extended suspension of the travel bubble with New Zealand after more cases of a more contagious strain of Covid-19 were identified.
Australia suspended flights for another 72 hours.
There are now three cases of the South African variant of Covid linked to an Auckland quarantine hotel.
Arrangements enabling people travelling from New Zealand to skip quarantine have been suspended until at least Sunday.
“This allows for the continued protection of the people of Australia while the extent of the situation in New Zealand continues to be clarified,” said Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd.
Australia authorities say up to nine people earlier travelled to Australia who may have been exposed.
“Twelve people who were in quarantine at the Pullman Hotel have arrived in Sydney, three have travelled on to Hong Kong and health authorities there have been notified,” Kidd said.
“The others are all being followed up in NSW and are being tested.”
The Pullman Hotel has been identified as the likely source.
So far, The South Africa strain of the virus has been identified in 26 countries.
Professor Kidd said the Australia rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations is on track to begin in late February.