When Australia recorded a fourth day of zero coronavirus cases on Thursday, it prompted the chief of the country’s most populous state to call for a special travel “bubble” with Pacific island nations.
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ABC News reported New South Wales had also recorded its fifth straight day with no locally acquired coronavirus cases, but authorities warned testing rates “just aren’t high enough”.
The latest figures came as Victoria prepared to ease border restrictions for people from NSW.
Sydney media reported that NSW had reined in an outbreak in mid-December which prompted a strict lockdown in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Signalling those restrictions were set to be eased next week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper as saying the federal government should consider establishing a travel arrangement with the Pacific.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t aim to travel to New Zealand or some of the Pacific Islands well within the next 12 months,” Ms Berejiklian is quoted saying.
The comments came after Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly cautioned about restarting international travel, given the country was in an “envious position” compared with most of the world.
The news is actually positive for us.
Any effort to reopen borders, enabling tourists to visit other countries safely will come as a sort of reprieve for us in many ways.
In the face of that scenario sits confirmation by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services that there have been no new cases of COVID-19 since the last update on January 16, 2021.
It has also noted there are presently no active cases in Fiji.
Fiji has had 55 cases in total since the first case was reported on March 19, 2020, with 53 recoveries and two deaths.
The last 37 cases have been associated with international travel – detected in border quarantine.
According to the ministry, it has been 279 days since the last case was detected outside border quarantine.
We are in a unique position as opposed to other more developed countries around the world.
We are COVID-contained.
Our challenge is to maintain the status quo.
That means adhering to social distancing rules and staying vigilant in our border quarantine facilities.
It means our hopes and aspirations will continue to rest on our frontliners, and workers at our quarantine facilities maintaining the highest level of security and safety measures.
There will no doubt be hope in the processes we have and in that the changing dynamics around us can set the platform for a return to some semblance of order in the near future.
That may not be any time soon, but there is hope always that things can and will be stabilised soon.