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Travel ban: All over by Christmas

Wednesday 22 July 2020 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Economy


Travel ban: All over by Christmas
Jacinda Ardern. 20072125

New Zealand’s prime minister has spelled out details of what would be required to reopen the border with Cook Islands – and says it can be done by Christmas.

Jacinda Ardern said it would take several weeks to get the plan in place, and officials were working on the practical details.

She has set them a timeframe to report back on challenges like separating travellers from each other at the airport – those from Covid-free Cook Islands and those from other parts of the world.

Private Sector Taskforce chair Fletcher Melvin said: “We are grateful to at least get an acknowledgement and indication that things are happening behind the scenes.

“We will continue to ask for some certainty in regards to dates so that planning for businesses can take place.”

Whenever there was dialogue, he said, it opened the door to more solutions – otherwise there was just anxiety.

“We are now encouraged that there are ongoing discussions between both government on how to safely re-establish the border between the two countries,” he added.

Ardern said they were also working with the airlines and this would take several weeks, and then an exact date would be advised.

She didn’t want to create expectations, she added.

The Cooks had border controls in place for some time, she acknowledged, and New Zealand worked very closely with Te Marae Ora when they were people who needed medevac.

“Obviously if there were issues now with Covid, it would have been apparent by now. We need more than that so we are working with the Cook Islands on what the expectations are for us to demonstrate that it is safe for both sides.”