Australia news live: New Zealand travel bubble expected to be announced
OK, Stuff.co.nz has pulled through. Here is some more of that interview New Zealand deputy prime minister Grant Robertson did with TVNZ’s Breakfast program this morning, about the possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble.
He defended the government’s decision not to ease restrictions to Australia earlier:
I think back to people who wanted this before Christmas and that was the exact moment that there was a big outbreak in Melbourne, so we’ve been careful, we’ve been cautious, but we’re ready. We’ve been stepping through this very carefully because it’s important we get all the systems in place …
We want to be able to tell New Zealanders and Australians exactly what’s expected of them before they leave, what happens in the unlikely and awful event that there is an outbreak on either side of the Tasman.
Robertson conceded this deal could draw domestic tourists away from New Zealand and to Australia but said it would still be worth it.
We want them [Australian tourists] to come here, and there’ll be particular parts of New Zealand where this will really matter, places like Queenstown for the ski season during the school holidays and so on.
Equally, we also have to remember that New Zealanders like to holiday in Australia … We also have to accept that, quite a few people who might have been touring around New Zealand will now go off to Australia.
On balance, it’ll be a positive, and it’s up to us to market ourselves in Australia and make sure that Australians come over here.
New Zealand’s Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson says he felt “really confident” about a possibility of a trans-Tasman travel bubble this morning.
He spoke on New Zealand TV this morning:
I feel really confident about the fact that we’re in a good place here. The hard work we’ve all done has put us in a place where this is possible. Also for Australia too, I think one of the things to acknowledge today is that both Australia and New Zealand, relative to the rest of the world, have done pretty well.
I’ll try to hunt down the rest of that TV appearance and bring you what I can.
Now if you were following along with the blog last week you would have noticed we have been playing somewhat of an informal morning coffee-sipping game, where we caffeinate ourselves every time someone in the Australian political ecosystem says or does something aggressively predictable.
Well, I reckon in light of the New Zealand news today we need to add anyone who says “a boom for tourism” to the sip list.
Other rules include Annastacia Palaszczuk tweeting out something with strangely athletic graphic design, Brad Hazzard calling NSW’s Covid-19 response “gold standard” and Scott Morrison telling off any press gallery reporter named Andrew.
Tweet me your proposed rules at @MatildaBoseley and if I like them I’ll pop them up in the blog!
I mentioned before that the NSW restrictions easing obviously don’t apply to people who have been asked to isolate because they have been to Covid-19 hotspot.
If you need a reminder of where these hotspots are, check out the articles below.
Here are the NSW hotspots:
Here are the Queensland hotspots:
Australia risks never achieving herd immunity to Covid-19 unless it ramps up its strategy for engaging with vaccine-hesitant populations, a former health department chief and an epidemiologist have warned.
While health officials remain confident in the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, they have told Guardian Australia they are concerned that recent reports about blood clotting will not curb vaccine hesitancy rates.
Health authorities on Monday acknowledged it is “likely” that blood clots developed by a 44-year-old Victorian man last week were linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Deputy chief health officer Michael Kidd noted that his “colleagues overseas appear to be seeing one to two cases” of recipients who develop the condition per one million recipients.
You can read the full report below:
Oh my, what’s this? More good news? We are getting spoilt here!
Yep, restrictions have officially been lifted in Byron Bay and surrounding northern NSW areas following a four-day run of no community transmissions.
About 200,000 residents in the region were ordered to wear masks in most indoor public areas and limit house gatherings to no more than 30 last Wednesday after a man contracted Covid-19 in Byron Bay after sitting on the table next to an infected woman who travelled down from Queensland.
Huge numbers of people turned out for testing in the area, and these high numbers, combined with no other cases being discovered, allowed NSW Health to lift restrictions as of midnight last night.
They put out this statement on Monday:
These efforts have provided us with the confidence to lift the restrictions, but we are still in a period of increased risk and we urge the community to remain vigilant for the next week.
But the department clarified that close contacts of coronavirus cases are still required to continue self-isolating for 14 days from their date of exposure and get tested again at the end of this period.
Good morning, Matilda Boseley here to kick off the week.
I hope you are all heading out to work or school today well-rested, with bellies full of hot cross buns.
For once there is actually some good news to start the day because it’s looking pretty likely that New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern will announce a start date for the trans-Tasman travel bubble, which would finally pave the way for international tourism with Australia, and even better, this could start as soon as next week.
Now, this free travel plan has been in the works for around 300 years (well, 11 months), and while Australia lifted quarantine requirements for incoming Kiwis in October last year, a scattering of outbreaks, both small and large, across Australia has meant New Zealand was always hesitant to reciprocate.
But now Ardern’s cabinet will meet to sign off a trans-Tasman plan before 4pm their time (2pm for Melbourne and Sydney).
Not only would reciprocal quarantine exemptions allow the cogs of commercial tourism to start turning again (a huge source of income for New Zealand), but it would also free up about half of all the spots in their hotel quarantine program, allowing more Kiwis around the world to return home. In fact, families separated by the Tasman Sea have been among the loudest voices calling for a resumption of normal travel.
But it looks like any travel bubbles plans would be reliant on New Zealand being able to snap the borders shut temporarily in the event of outbreaks.
With that, why don’t we jump into the day.
- The postcard that came home after 60 years
- Dogecoin spikes 300% in a week, stoking fears of a cryptocurrency bubble
- Covid infection rate is approaching the highest level so far, WHO chief warns
- Democrats, after slamming Trump for upending ‘norms,’ now eyeing sweeping changes of their own
- At least four people hospitalized with gunshot wounds, police say
- Losing languages, losing worlds
- Premier League and FA Cup team news, previews and more – live!
- Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty
- ‘This is it. If we don’t amp up, we’re goners’: the last chance to confront the climate crisis?
- Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is recovering after contracting malaria
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