Events have overtaken state plans for limited numbers of international students to return. With NSW dropping quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals, flight capacity is the final obstacle.
New Zealand has avoided a COVID-19 outbreak, despite a visit by an Australian traveller with the delta variant. But now is clearly the time to introduce mandatory scanning and mask rules.
The trans-Tasman travel bubble has come to a temporary regional halt three times now, highlighting the challenges in tracking the risk of an outbreak across jurisdictions with different systems.
Even with the highest possible rates of vaccination, New Zealand will need to keep up public health measures, or consider letting go of the concept of elimination and focus instead on disease control.
New Zealand and Australia both had COVID-19 outbreaks originating from border facilities, but as frontline border workers are prioritised for vaccination, the risk of this happening again is lower.