The Reconnecting the World Forum was held this morning The Reconnecting the World Forum was held this morning

PM: Home-based isolation to be trialed from October

New Zealand will trial home-based isolation in a tightly run pilot between October and December this year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Speaking at the Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World Forum this morning she also revealed plans to accelerate work towards a travel health declaration system that will be manual in the short term but will quickly move to a digital tool. There will also be work on developing rapid testing for Covid-19 at the border.

She says the home-based isolation pilot will be limited to '100s not 1000s' and that the intention is to open the scheme to employers who need employees to travel.

Ardern emphasised that the opening of the borders will depend on high level of vaccination taking place, while not putting any percentages or figures on what that level will be.

However the government is considering a phased opening of borders in Q1  2022. The easing of restrictions will depend much on the vaccination status of the traveller and on where the traveller has been for the last 14 days.

Sir David Skegg: 'NSW situation has implications for bubble'

Chair of the Strategic COVID-19 Independent Public Health Advisory Group Sir David Skegg says at present he doesn't see a way for New South Wales to get out of its current health crisis.

'That has implications for the bubble. I don't think anyone can be sure what will happen to that in the months ahead. If Australia does give up on its elimination strategy that would be unfortunate for us. We may have to treat them as one of the low risk countries – like Singapore.'

Skegg reiterated that his group is an advisory one and that it will be up to politicians to make the decision on when to start opening the borders. 'However the feeling within our group is that when everyone has had the chance to be vaccinated we should start the process and we should do it in a staged manner.'

Rob Fyfe: 'Lockdowns main destroyer'

Rob Fyfe, chair of the Business Leaders' Forum, says a month or two ago he was hoping the borders would start to open up before Christmas but the situation in Australia has shown how disastrous it can be to open too early.

'The thing that destroys business confidence and viability is a lockdown.'

Fyfe urged businesses to support the vaccination roll out and all other defences that are available.

Fyfe says proof of vaccination in an electronic verifiable form will be increasingly important. 'This in not just about travel overseas, you never know when you need it. I expect there will be business environments you can't access unless you are vaccinated. Some businesses overseas are making vaccination and proof of vaccination status compulsory.'