New Zealanders, under a travel arrangement announced earlier this month with Australia, are allowed to visit the states of New South Wales and the Northern Territory, which have seen relatively low cases of the coronavirus.
But some appear eager to keep on traveling.
Gaps have emerged in the arrangement, meant to be the start a travel bubble that would later encompass Australia, after New Zealanders who entered the country via participating states have traveled on to other parts of Australia for vacations, or to visit friends and family.
But the rules for where they could travel after arriving are unclear, and many have caught connecting flights to other cities, including Melbourne — which has been under some of the strictest lockdown laws in the world after a second wave of the virus hit in July.
Initially, the state government of Victoria, the state that encompasses Melbourne, took the position that the dozens of passengers were unwelcome and sent police to track them down. It later backtracked, acknowledging that anyone from New Zealand, which has for the second time eliminated the virus, did not pose a risk to the state.
Michael Outram, the head of the Australian Border Force, said that the states had never raised objections to New Zealanders entering the country.
“Once a passenger leaves the international terminal, once they depart the customs controlled area, the back of the baggage hall, they cease to be an international traveler or passenger, they’ve entered Australia,” Mr. Outram told reporters on Monday.
The bubble, he added, “stops at the international terminal.”
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