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Kiwi businesses should prepare for long period of 'very tight border control', says expert

New Zealand businesses should prepare for a long period with tight border controls, says one expert, as a recent Covid-19 spike in Victoria looks to dash hopes of a trans-Tasman bubble.

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Newsroom's Bernard Hickey says to keep Covid-19 free status New Zealand needs to “electrify its border”. Source: Breakfast

The Australian state on Wednesday reported the country’s first coronavirus death in a month, with a growing number of cases attributed to community transmission.

Economist Bernard Hickey told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning travel to Australia likely won't be an option until 2021.

“We’d sort of assumed that Australia was fixed and it was done and it was heading in the same direction as us but no, in Victoria they’ve had to roll back some of their opening up and you’ve got new cases breaking out,” Mr Hickey said.

“So this means that Australia just in the last couple of days in particular has said ok, no trans-Tasman bubble not until next year. Qantas' CEO said yesterday no trans-Tasman bubble until middle of next year.”

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Australia's first Covid-19 death in weeks, infection surge pour cold water on trans-Tasman bubble idea

Mr Hickey said businesses bidding on the Australian market to boost the local economy will need to focus on the domestic market.

“You’ve got to remember a lot of New Zealanders who were going overseas for holidays are not going to be now. It’s actually quite a chunk of spending," he said. 

“New Zealand businesses should get ready for a long period unfortunately of very tight border control.”

He said the future border opportunities all come down to biology, not politics. 

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The June 25 cases are a person in managed isolation in Rotorua and two in managed isolation in Christchurch. Source: 1 NEWS

"The biology says this thing spreads real fast, it's hard to control and if New Zealand wants to keep its status as Covid free it needs to electrify its border.

"That means a really tough testing system, a really tough quarantining system." 

New Zealand now has 14 active cases of Covid-19, all of which are in managed isolation facilities. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday confirmed New Zealand is still free of community transmission.