Keep quarantine restrictions but let more people in for border reopening - Rob Fyfe

Let more people into the country, but keep the 14-day isolation restrictions, businessman Rob Fyfe suggests to rebuild the economy after Covid-19.

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The business advisor on the Covid-19 response committee wants the borders to reopen to boost the economy. Source: Breakfast

At the moment only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are allowed in, unless they're able to get a special exemption.

Mr Fyfe, the business advisor on the Covid-19 response committee, wants that to change.

"We need to help people to understand actually a non-New Zealander coming across the border is actually no more risk than a New Zealander," he told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

"When I talk about the border, for me it's less about loosening restrictions but it is about figuring out how to get more people across our borders. 

"As we look to regenerate our economy and rebuild our economy, we do need specialist skills, we need foreign investment to help us to do that."

That could mean building more Government-managed isolation facilities, keeping the 14-day quarantine requirement before people are allowed out into the country, Mr Fyfe says.

"My view is that we're living with this for years. This is not something that's going to be fixed in a few months or even by the end of next year. I think this is going on for many years. So we can't sit here isolated from the world forever."

Part of the challenge will be communication, Mr Fyfe says, to make sure people are aware the extra arrivals won't be putting public health at risk.

He also wants tourists to be allowed back "in time", but didn't put a timeframe on that.

"We've seen issues off-shore where people haven't been trained and that's led to the problems in Victoria," he says.

"So training, facilities, ensuring we've got the right PPE in place, all the right procedures. 

"So we need to do it cautiously. But I'm confident we can do that."

In comparison to Mr Fyfe's ideas, the Government is currently looking at the possibility of 'travel bubbles' with countries that don't have Covid-19 active in the community.

A travel bubble would mean people could head between the countries without needing the 14-day stint in a managed isolation facility.

Today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said progress is underway on a bubble with the Cook Islands, hoping to be in effect by the end of the year.

When it comes to the economy, around 11,000 Kiwis lost their jobs in the last quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic hit.