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Qantas (ASX:QAN) share price takes off after latest COVID updates

asx share price rise represented by red paper plane flying away from other white paper planes
Image source: Getty Images

The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price is flying high today. At the time of writing, shares in the national carrier are trading at $5.15 – up 3%.

And Qantas is not alone in its trip to the skies. Other ASX travel shares are all moving in the right direction today. Currently, Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) shares are up 2.67% ($18.10), the Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) share price is 2.75% higher ($5.61), Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD) shares have jumped 4.19% ($6.21), and Helloworld Travel Ltd (ASX: HLO) is 2.37% higher ($2.16).

For comparative purposes, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is up 1.59%. So, ASX travel shares, including Qantas shares, are booming. While the market in general is also having a rip-roaring day, each of these companies is rising over and above the index. One likely factor is the positive COVID-19 update out of Queensland this morning.

Let’s take a closer look at that announcement.

Qantas share price turbulence

On Tuesday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that the Greater Brisbane Area would go into a 3-day lockdown from 5pm that day. This news sent ASX travel shares, including the Qantas share price, tumbling.

Speculation was rife overnight that the lockdown could be extended by length and regions included, according to 9 News. But at 9 am local time (10 am Sydney time, i.e. at market open) today, Premier Palaszczuk and Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young announced only two new cases, both linked to existing clusters. 

No extended restrictions were announced during the press conference. In addition, Queensland Health advised it had conducted 33,000 tests over the previous 24 hours, which provides some reassurance that no new COVID cases have been missed.

Investors seemingly enjoyed the news. The Qantas share price enjoyed its single biggest gain since the federal government announced it would be subsidising airfares to certain domestic locations.

NSW puts COVID restrictions on Byron Bay region

In related news, a hen’s party attended by two positive coronavirus cases from the Brisbane cluster has led to a new outbreak on the New South Wales North Coast. While only one case has been identified in the region so far, it has sparked some concern from the NSW Government.

From 5 pm today, face masks will again be mandatory in certain settings in the Tweed Shire, Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, and Lismore City council areas. In addition, hospitality venues will revert back to the one person per four square metre rule.

While the NSW Premier has not locked down the region, she is strongly recommending tourists postpone plans to travel there over the long weekend. The Byron Bay Bluesfest is due to start tomorrow.

If the situation in the region deteriorates, investors will be keeping a close eye on the Qantas share price and other ASX travel stocks.

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Marc Sidarous has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Helloworld Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Flight Centre Travel Group Limited and Helloworld Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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