Could the opening of a Trans-Tasman bubble eventually see the Solomon Islands benefit from a return of tourists?
According to the latest Reuters report, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday a draft blueprint on safely starting travel between New Zealand and Australia will be presented to both governments in early June.
The neighbours have been discussing the possibility of a travel bubble between them as both have slowed the spread of the novel coronavirus to levels well below those in United States, Britain and some other European countries.
Yesterday, New Zealand's Director General of Health said the risks of a 'bubble' with Pacific countries could be well managed.
“There are calls across the region for travel to be reinstated, possibly before a trans-Tasman bubble with Australia, but the (NZ) Ministry of Health hadn't yet been asked for advice about an arrangement,” he said
"My own view is that the risks can be managed well, especially if we've got countries that have got good testing in place and we know that they haven't got any cases and the arrangements can be put in place for travel to and fro," Dr Bloomfield said.
"I think that many Pacific countries will be interested in seeing if an arrangement can be put in place because their economies are so reliant on tourism."
“He said the Pacific had always been a focus of New Zealand's efforts in response to Covid-19 and it would remain in mind when opening up travel.”
It has been claimed any pathway would have to have a means of testing, tracking, and tracing each person involved.
The Solomon Islands remains free from COVID-19 and already has the equipment at hand for testing and for delivering test results quickly. There are quarantine facilities newly constructed at the International Airport and facilities adapted as quarantine stations in Honiara.
News sources: Reuters and Radio New Zealand