New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussed the plans of trans-Tasman travel with her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison on May 5 and declared that the transportation will be allowed “as soon as it is safe to do so”. Even though both countries have a coronavirus mortality rate of less than one per cent, Ardern had joined the Australian cabinet meeting to discuss the lifting of restrictions and establish COVID-19-safe travel zone between New Zealand and Australia.
According to the joint statement by Morrison and Ardern, trans-Tasman travel would be given a green signal only once necessary health, transport and other protocols had been developed that can ensure the safety of public health from COVID-19 infection. Meanwhile, as of May 5, New Zealand has 164 active cases of the novel virus and 20 deaths and Australia has 865 individuals still infected with coronavirus and has reported 96 fatalities. Therefore, both governments have noted the need to practice caution while relaxing travel restrictions to prevent a rebound of virus infections.
“Building on our success so far in responding to COVID-19, continuing to protect Australians and New Zealanders remains an absolute priority,” the Prime Ministers said according to the official release. “We will remain responsive to the health situation as it develops.”
“Our relationship is one of family – and our unique travel arrangement means we have a head-start for when it is time to get trans-Tasman travel flowing again,” the Prime Ministers said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand became one of the first countries outside China last week to claim that it has “eliminated” the COVID-19 disease. At a news conference, New Zealand not only reported just two new cases of coronavirus with three “probable cases” but also eased restrictions from “level four” to “level three”. Even though New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that though the country has “currently” eliminated, officials have warned that it does not mean that new COVID-19 cases have gone down to zero.
• We have achieved what we set out to under Alert Level 4 - a small number of cases, know where they are coming from and have the capacity for testing and contact tracing.— Unite Against COVID-19 (@covid19nz) April 28, 2020
• Please maintain physical distancing at Alert Level 3, don't congregate outside cafes, carparks etc.