THE Prime Minister of New Zealand has said the country’s borders will remain closed for a “long time”.
The country has recorded a death rate of just one per cent – but PM Jacinda Arden announced plans to keep borders closed for the foreseeable future.
Speaking following discussion with Australian Ministers on the issue of borders, Ms Arden said: “We will not have open borders for the rest of the world for a long time to come.”
She had joined Australia’s coronavirus cabinet meeting on Tuesday as the neighbouring countries discussed reopening their borders to trans-Tasman travel following their successes in containing the killer virus.
Ms Arden added: “[There could be] a bubble of sorts between us, a safe zone of travel”.
She added there was still “a lot of work to be done before we can progress…but it’s obviously been floated because of the benefits it would bring”.
Both countries have a virus mortality rate of just 1 per cent, and have boosted their medical equipment reserves as they plan to slowly reopen their economies, including restarting travel across the Tasman sea – but with borders closed to everyone else.
Australia has recorded around 6,800 infections and 96 deaths, and New Zealand 1,137 cases and 20 fatalities.
New Zealand’s pandemic approach has was described by Ms Arden as “go hard and go early,” with the killer bug contained in a matter of weeks.
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New Zealand’s tough stance echoed measures outlined in a groundbreaking Imperial College report, which gave results of epidemiologicial modelling “in the absence of a Covid-19 vaccine”.
The college looked into the likely outcome of various public health measures and found that without strict intervention, the bug could infect 80 per cent of the population.
These included mitigation – slowing but not stopping the spread – and suppression, which aims to reverse the virus’s growth.