New Zealand’s Prime Minister believes Australia is getting closer to allowing Kiwis to enter without the need to quarantine for a fortnight in hotels.
Jacinda Ardern has advanced talks on the creation of a trans-Tasman ‘bubble’ during the coronavirus pandemic with Australia, telling the Australian Associated Press (AAP), via The New Daily, that Australia could allow for one-way travel.
“They could just say, ‘Well, look one way [travel from New Zealand to Australia] is fine by us’ until we work through some of the detail, and it’s a possibility,” she said.
According to AAP, Ardern – who is up for re-election and whose nation is overseeing a COVID-19 elimination strategy – has established a series of criteria that must be met before New Zealand will open its borders to other nations.
As such, opening its borders to Australia for quarantine-free travel is not yet possible, AAP reported.
It comes after the Victorian coronavirus outbreak led to a halt in talks with Australia around the trans-Tasman bubble.
However, Ardern told AAP that her Australian counterpart’s, Scott Morrison’s, embrace of a ‘hotspot’ system would allow travel to resume sooner.
“Essentially what a hotspot system would do, it would shut down those areas where there were heightened cases, while allowing the rest to be open. And so absolutely, we can also make that work,” she told AAP.
“What we just need to hear a bit more from Australia on is what the definition of a hotspot will be, how they’ll manage the state borders in those situations, but we’re working that through.”
Ardern told the AAP that opening up to Pacific nations, beginning with the Cook Islands, was “absolutely” still part of New Zealand’s re-engagement strategy as “the threshold that they’ll set will meet the Cooks’ expectations”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morrison told the press he believes “home quarantine can play a role in the future”, adding the government’s health advisory body, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), was considering whether arrivals could undergo quarantine at home.
“[As] we do look to have … our borders open up at some point to safe locations, whether it be New Zealand or parts of the Pacific, or places like South Korea or Japan, or countries that have had a much higher rate of success, then there are opportunities to look at those alternative methods,” Morrison said, as reported by ABC News.
The PM also referenced countries like Denmark, which has a list of allowed countries that includes Australia, that dictates who can enter the country freely.
Since late March, arrivals to Australia have been required to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine (now at their own expense) at their port of entry, before being allowed to enter the community.
Featured image source: Ministry of Justice of New Zealand