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NZ taking a cautious approach to the Bula Bubble for now

NZ taking a cautious approach to the Bula Bubble for now

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 25/06/2020

The New Zealand government says it's taking a cautious approach to Fiji's 'Bula Bubble' proposal.

Radio NZ reports that Wellington's response follows Fiji's announcement this week that it is hoping to establish a tourism bubble with Australia and New Zealand, to attract visitors.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has said that tourists could be contained and prevented from mixing with locals. He says there will be VIP lanes - starting on the airplane, then from Nadi Airport onto designated transport to their designated resort or hotel where they will remain throughout their stay.

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Fiji is currently identifying geographically-isolated resorts best suited for the Bula Bubble.

New Zealand says it was exploring opportunities to expand the concept of a trans-Tasman COVID-19 "travel safe zone".

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said while her government is talking with Pacific nations, it is imperative New Zealanders avoided spreading or contracting COVID-19 within the region.

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Ardern also told Radio NZ that Fiji are in a position where they have seen lower numbers than many others (but) they haven't been entirely COVID-free though.

She says they have set up their own criteria for what they would expect in the event of opening up bubbles.

Ardern says it's fair to say that at the moment, the border remains the biggest vulnerability so it's the area where they will be the most cautious.

New Zealand's opposition leader Todd Muller says the criteria should be shared with Pacific nations like Fiji. He said Pacific nations like Fiji have been without a COVID case for many weeks now.

He also says that these nations are putting huge pressure on New Zealand and Australia to be innovative in the way holiday travel could be opened up to that market.

Fiji has not had a COVID-19 case in more than 60 days and it has been more than 90 days since our first case was reported.

Bainimarama said Bula Bubble travellers would have to present a certificate from a recognised medical institution certifying 14 days of quarantine in their home country, along with proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of their departure to Fiji.

Alternatively, upon arrival in Fiji, travellers could complete 14 days of quarantine, at their own cost, in a Fijian government-designated quarantine centre or a hotel of their choosing, after which they would have to undergo a COVID-19 test.

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