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Travel news update: New Zealand

Original publication date: August 11, 2020

New Zealand reports first new COVID case in over 100 days

Cheap car rental New Zealand

Kemwel - Perhaps it was too good to be true. While New Zealand essentially eradicated the coronavirus with zero new community transmissions over the past 102 days, the prominent Kemwel car rental destination recently reported four new cases from the same household in South Auckland.

As a result, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reinstated level three restrictions throughout the city expected to last the rest of the week. Many businesses, restaurants, bars and non-essential shops will need to shut down, not to mention gatherings of over 10 people becoming prohibited once again.

All things considered, New Zealand still won’t be open for international tourism anytime soon. Even days prior to this news development, health officials stressed the importance of remaining vigilant if or when new outbreaks come to New Zealand.

“Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent,” said Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, Director General of Health in a recent press release. In his opinion, every Kiwi has a role to play in mitigating this public health crisis from continuing any further. Moreover, he contends that the Kiwi health care system is reportedly prepared to handle new cases.

“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand… Every person in this team of five million has a role to play in this.”

Since the onset of coronavirus in March, New Zealand has experienced 22 deaths out of 1,219 confirmed cases, according to BBC. Previously there were still 23 active cases with the patients in managed isolation.

Travel bubble between New Zealand and Cook Islands

Before the announcement of these new cases, Prime Minister Ardern was expecting to formalize a controlled travel corridor by year’s end between New Zealand and the nearby archipelago nation of Cook Islands that has been COVID-free since April. Although both Oceanic countries have achieved wonders in controlling the virus, the leader is still approaching this initiative cautiously and deliberately.

"I think there's a really good understanding within our own domestic tourism industry (that) it's beneficial for our domestic tourism operators if we have New Zealanders travelling and enjoying New Zealand,” said the minister who has been applauded for her COVID response.

Over the months, Ardern has earned accolades for her strong leadership, enforcement of regular testing, not to mention isolating incidents once they occurred. When it comes to this proposed travel bubble, the crux of the initiative ultimately revolves around boosting national tourism in New Zealand where life has essentially gone back to normal due to such effective health measures. In the end, this could potentially salvage the sector from going under.

”... at the same time there's absolute understanding that if all the public health measures are in place, protecting New Zealand's domestic tourism industry is not a reason to stop people with NZ passports being able to travel between the Cook Islands and New Zealand."

Whether other Oceanic countries like Australia will join New Zealand and Cook Islands still isn’t clear, according to Ardern. Despite early success with the virus, recently the public health crisis re-emerged with new cases accumulating in Victoria plus New South Wales.