New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern decided to abstain from visiting neighbouring Australia due to deterioration of the regional epidemiological situation. Within two weeks, PM will announce a date for quarantine-free travel with Australia, Reuters said.
Despite the worrying prognosis, the NZ government hopes to announce a start date on April 6. According to Jacinda Ardern, while opening borders with neighbours was a priority, concerns needed to be resolved first.
“We know that many New Zealanders are nervous…they want us to proceed in the same vein as our overall COVID response, that’s with caution,” NZ PM told during the press conference.
Commenting on the postponing of a visit to Australia, PM Ardern outlined the conditions needed to satisfy the cabinet. Among them contact tracing measures and managed isolation facilities. Both NZ and Australia have successfully contained the COVID-19 within their borders.
New Zealand’s opposition National Party has called for the immediate start of quarantine-free travel with Australia.
“The last thing our struggling economy needs now is more announcements about future announcements,” party leader Judith Collins said in a statement and added that Ms Ardern “should have given us the certainty of a start date today.”