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'If border opens soon, NZ can minimise the economic consequences of Covid-19'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Covid Plan B group says New Zealand can minimise the economic consequences of Covid-19 if it opens its borders following the rest of the world.

The group, which has critiqued the Government's lockdown response since March, has today added its weight to the call of Peter Gluckman for a new plan that sets conditions, timetable and protocols to manage an open border.

Group Spokesperson Simon Thornley says the group has consistently argued that the cost of elimination was too high, and that a vaccine was unlikely within a practical timeframe.

"The rest of the world has paid a high price to Covid-19 - but if we keep our border closed in pursuit of elimination and a vaccine, our long term price will be just as high.

"With virus deaths now waning globally, New Zealand has an opportunity to open up its borders soon after the rest of the world and minimise the economic consequences of the pandemic."

Thornley said Gluckman's assessment was backed by recent global commentary that New Zealand was in a policy 'cul de sac'.

"New Zealand has been blinded by the focus on elimination, and reliance on a vaccine, and we've almost talked ourselves into multi-year isolation."

A Canadian team working on a vaccine warned recently that a vaccine "cannot be made available to the public in time to make a substantial difference to the natural outcome of this pandemic."

The Covid19 group will hold in August an international symposium of prominent scientists from around the world, to discuss the state of Covid19 and New Zealand's next step.

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