Van Gisbergen set to miss team livery launch

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen is set to miss this week’s Red Bull Ampol Racing livery launch after temporary travel restrictions were imposed by the Australian Government.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that van Gisbergen would fly back to Brisbane on Tuesday morning and go into hotel quarantine for up to 14 days. However, has since learned van Gisbergen did not fly to Brisbane as planned after the airline he was flying with cancelled his flight. He has elected to stay in New Zealand for the time being.

As of Monday at 14:00 AEDT, quarantine-free travel has been suspended from New Zealand to Australia for at least 72 hours while the situation is assessed.

It means arrivals into the country will be required to go into hotel quarantine for up to 14 days or take other action based on the relevant State and Territory Government requirements.

The travel halt comes after a new case of COVID-19 was detected in the community in New Zealand.

Andre Heimgartner was set to return to Melbourne on Tuesday morning, but has had his return delayed after his airline cancelled his flight.

Heimgartner told the team will reevaluate the situation in the coming days after the 72-hour travel halt has elapsed.

The 25-year-old suffered a fractured thumb at last weekend’s New Zealand Grand Prix meeting and was scheduled to meet with a hand surgeon for a check-up this week.

Heimgarnter said he hoped to return to Melbourne in time for next month’s pre-season test at Winton Motor Raceway on February 16.

“On 24 January 2021, the New Zealand Government announced a case of COVID-19 detected in the community,” read a statement from Greg Hunt, Minister for Health.

“This morning, New Zealand authorities advised that the case detected is a variant of concern. The case and subsequent exposure to the community are still under investigation.

“As a result, the Australian Government, based on advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), has suspended green zone travel arrangements with New Zealand for a minimum of 72 hours whilst more is learnt about the transmission. This change comes into effect immediately (as of 1400 AEDT, 25 January 2021).

“The decision has been taken out of an abundance of caution to reduce the risk of this variant, which has been shown to spread more readily between individuals, entering the Australian community.

“All green safe travel zone passengers from New Zealand currently en route to Australia, or with planned travel to Australia in the next 72 hours will be required to enter mandatory hotel quarantine for up to 14 days on arrival or take other action based on the requirements of the relevant State and Territory Governments.

“It is recommended all passengers from New Zealand with a green safe travel zone flight scheduled in the next 72 hours, reconsider their need to travel.”

Any arrival from New Zealand since January 14 has been asked to undergo a COVID-19 test and self-isolate until receiving their results.

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