Borders closed until 2022?

I don’t think anyone can predict how long our borders will be closed to anyone who is not a returning New Zealander (and a few exceptions) with 14 days isolation mandatory, but it looks like being for some time, probably well into next year if not until 2022.

On Monday (RNZ): NZ travel bubble with Cook Islands could be in place by end of year – Ardern

In a press conference this afternoon, Ardern says Cabinet considered a draft text for the basis of an agreement.

The next phase will be a verification phase on both sides within the next 10 days, she says.

She says the draft text is nearing its conclusion and they’re hoping the travel bubble will be in place before the end of the year.

Two factors are the maritime and aviation border, and that will be a “significant part” of the verification phase, she says.

“I expect in the next 10 days or so undertaking that on-the-ground verification process … it is not a simple exercise and it is one where we are exercising caution.”

“The whole point of establishing this regime is the assurance that both the Cook Islands and New Zealand are considered to be Covid-free, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have extra stages of assurance.”

Ardern says New Zealand is still waiting on Niue to be ready for a potential travel bubble but at the moment the plan is just for the Cook Islands.

So this signalled the possibility of a very limited opening of borders with the Cook Islands maybe by the end of the year.

And then yesterday it was announced that New Zealand is not Covid-free any more, with four positive cases with no known source of infection.

From what has been said that may put the cobwash on travel to and from the Cook Islands for the rest of the year at least, all going well.

What about trans-Tasman travel? With the spread of Covid in Victoria and a 6 week lockdown in Melbourne at least that’s looking a long way off. How long?

From the Northern territory yesterday: Hard border controls will remain for the NT for at least 18 months

Australia’s Northern Territory will be closed to visitors from virus hotspots for a further 18 months to protect its large and vulnerable Aboriginal population, authorities said Tuesday.

“We’ll have our hard border controls in place for at least the next 18 months. And we’re resourcing so we can do that,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told public broadcaster ABC.

Many Aboriginal groups fear the virus could sweep through remote indigenous communities where healthcare services are limited.

“This is what I think I need to do to make sure some of the most vulnerable people in the world stay safe,” Gunner said.

The Northern Territory has recorded few virus cases and no deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

It is currently closed to Victoria state and Sydney, and Gunner said he expected other regions to be excluded.

I had booked time in Darwin in June and obviously had to ditch those plans. I have close family there, but it looks like it could be a long time before I can visit there or they can visit here.

If different parts of Australia are shut off internally then opening borders with New Zealand looks a long way off.

What does that mean for travel to and from the rest of the world?

Things could change. An effective vaccination may become available by some time next year. But there seems no point in planning any offshore travel at this stage.

Even local travel is now in doubt again. I had changed plans and was due to have an internal holiday soon, and have made bookings, but now even that is in doubt.