“Those low numbers of imported numbers from Australia is obviously very encouraging for opening up to quarantine-free travel, but we do have to remember that of course the numbers of travellers will increase considerably once we do open up,” says epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker.
He says there would be huge benefits in opening up to low-risk, green zone countries.
“A country like New Zealand could start to benchmark its approaches to border management with the eight states and territories in Australia and look at best practice across all of these jurisdictions.”
Other red zone countries are out of the question. You only have to look to Brazil, the latest epicentre of the pandemic, to see the risk is real. Its health system is buckling as deaths near 4000 a day.
Peru’s health system is also near collapse, with no oxygen or beds with ventilators. The UK, however, is slowly opening back up after a mass lockdown and vaccination effort.
“I’m going to drink a pint of beer in the pub,” says British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But it’ll be a cautious celebration. Poland is warning of a third wave as police crackdown on those breaking lockdown.
It’s a similar picture in France as cases rise there.
Borders around the world are just as much of a concern now as they were a year ago, not least of all finding a way to start reopening them.
The hope is if we do it right, New Zealand could set the global standard.