/ 21 April 2021

Travel bubble deflects Kiwi case

Just a day after the opening of the trans-Tasman two-way travel bubble, a vaccinated border worker at Auckland Airport has tested positive for COVID-19. The worker is believed to have contracted the virus after cleaning planes from ‘red zone’ or high-risk countries carrying passengers with the virus. It was picked up in routine testing, and NZ PM Jacinda Ardern said the blip was “part of our journey together” and a good reminder that it’s still possible to get the coronavirus once vaccinated. More on that in a sec… Reports say the worker is in isolation, and contact tracing is underway.

IKR? On Monday, Australia and NZ flung open their quarantine-free borders to each other – it was a big step after a difficult year that both PMs talked up. Ardern yesterday reiterated an outbreak could see a pause on travel, but because this new case has been detected and officials are onto it, it’s unlikely to burst the bubble. “These are the kinds of scenarios where we would anticipate movement continuing,” she said. Nearly 2,000 Aussies flew across the ditch on 30 flights on Monday, and Health Minister Greg Hunt projected confidence that Kiwi health officials are “on to this”. Magnanimously, he said “there will be other days when there are cases in Australia.”

Yep… The vaccination isn’t a cure-all, but it does help to protect from serious illness and death from the virus. According to the World Health Organisation, COVID vaccines protect us against the coronavirus by developing an immune response to the SARS-Cov-2 virus. That means there is a reduced risk of developing the illness and its consequences, and the immunity will help fight the virus if exposed. Getting vaccinated also means you’re less likely to infect someone else –  but it can happen. Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed it had logged 5,800 so-called ‘breakthrough cases’ out of 130 million adults who have received at least one dose. These are issues Australia’s new vaccines coordinator Commodore Eric Young will be getting up to speed on. He says his job is clear: “To make sure that we can get the vaccines that we have available around the country when and where they’re required to protect our most vulnerable Australians.” Simples…

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