New Zealand among countries Thailand looking at for travel bubble

New Zealand is among a select group of nations.
New Zealand is among a select group of nations. Photo credit: Getty.

New Zealand's successful containment of the COVID-19 illness means it's among the countries Thailand is considering forming travel bubbles with. 

According to Thai media, the country's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) this week approved in principle a proposal for travel bubbles with nations that can show they have contained the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The countries being considered include Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

New Zealand currently has zero active cases of the respiratory illness and hasn't recorded a single case in more than three weeks. This week, the country moved to alert level 1, which removed essentially all domestic restrictions, but kept strong border measures in place.

At the moment, our border is closed to everyone but New Zealanders and their close families. Some exemptions have been made, however, including for members of two teams challenging Emirates Team New Zealand for the America's Cup. All entering New Zealand must be in a form of managed isolation for at least 14 days. 

A trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia is in the works, while calls have grown this week for that to be extended to the Pacific Islands. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has suggested border measures will remain in place for a long time to come as the rest of the globe grapples with the virus.

The Bangkok Post says Thailand's proposed travel bubble idea requires thorough health screening of passengers at their place of origin and again when they reach Thailand. They would need travel insurance, but vitally, quarantine wouldn't be necessary. 

Business people with high spending potential would be targeted.

No date was provided for when these travel bubbles could begin, but each would need the approval of the select nations. 

Thailand has had its borders closed since the start of April, crippling the country's tourism sector which is worth about 20 percent of its GDP.

According to Worldometers, Thailand has overall recorded 3129 cases of COVID-19 and had 58 deaths. There are 84 active cases in the country and has been recording single-digit daily cases over the last week. The country's curfew is set to end on Monday, although many restrictions on gatherings and some businesses will remain.