Ardern warns Victoria is an example of how Covid-19 virus could re-emerge here

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today warned that Victoria, Australia is an example of how Covid-19 could easily take hold again in New Zealand if we aren't vigilant.

Ms Ardern says Victoria’s recent rise in cases are a reminder of how New Zealand is “currently a safe haven in a dangerous world”.

"While we do not have community transmission of the virus, while we have low cases and days with zero, Victoria too was in a position of low cases and days with zero just three weeks ago.

"In the past 24 hours it’s had 64 new cases [yesterday] and today moves to a local lockdown across 36 suburbs and has closed its borders.

Just after Ms Ardern's statement it was announced that Victoria has recorded 73 new Covid-19 cases today.

"It is an example of how easily the virus can take hold again and why vigilance is so important," Ms Ardern continued.

"It’s a good reminder that New Zealand is currently a safe haven in a very dangerous world," she said at a press briefing this afternoon.

It comes as there were no new Covid-19 cases announced in New Zealand for the last two days.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says conversations are still ongoing about a travel bubble with Australia, but there are things to be considered.

"One of the benefits of the current arrangement we have is that we've got a fully open, essentially a domestic economy," he told TVNZ 1's Breakfast today.

"Who would've thought people would be able to go to Super Rugby games? Even just a couple of months ago, we never could've imagined that.

"There are many benefits of the current arrangements we have. Any efforts to open up the border need to weigh up the risks of that and the benefits of the current arrangement."

The industries currently hit hard by the remaining closures - airline, service and tourism industries - are getting funding boosts by the Government to help them adapt to the changed world, he said.

"But it's going to be a different environment for them," Dr Bloomfield says. "I think we just have to accept that for the time being."

The global number of Covid-19 cases is now at more than 10.3 million, with more than 500,000 deaths.

Dr Bloomfield says Australia's circumstances right now show "how tricky this virus is".

"[A travel bubble]'s clearly not something that anyone is going to want to rush into, either ourselves or Australia, in the first instance," he says.

"And then we look beyond Australia to the US, to many countries that have started to relax controls and they're finding the outbreak increasing again.

"So I would say we go down that path as cautiously as we can."