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The New Zealand government says it's taking a cautious approach to Fiji's 'Bula Bubble' proposal.
Wellington's response follows Fiji's announcement this week that it was hoping to establish a tourism bubble with Australia and New Zealand, to attract visitors.
Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said tourists could be contained and prevented from mixing with locals.
“VIP lanes - starting on the airplane, then from Nadi Airport onto designated transport to their designated resort or hotel where they'll remain throughout their stay,” Bainimarama said.
Fiji was identifying geographically-isolated resorts best suited for the Bula Bubble, he said.
New Zealand said it was exploring opportunities to expand the concept of a trans-Tasman Covid-19 “travel safe zone”.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while her government was talking with Pacific nations, it was imperative New Zealanders avoided spreading or contracting Covid-19 within the region.
“Fiji are in a position where they have seen lower numbers than many others (but) they haven't been entirely Covid-free though,” Ardern said.
“We've set up our own criteria for what we'd expect in the event of opening up bubbles. It's fair to say that at the moment, of course the border remains the biggest vulnerability so it's the area where we will be the most cautious.”
New Zealand's opposition leader Todd Muller said that criteria should be shared with Pacific nations like Fiji.
“They have been without a Covid case for many, many weeks now,” he said.
“They are, I'm sure, 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 its first case was reported. …
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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