An epidemiologist says he would have no problem with quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and most Pacific Islands.

This week New Zealand confirmed there were no active cases of Covid-19, and there have been no new cases for nearly three weeks.

That’s increased calls from the region to open travel to struggling tourism-dependent countries.

A professor of public health at Otago University, Nick Wilson, said New Zealand had certainly eliminated the coronavirus.

“For those Pacific Islands that have eliminated Covid – basically most never had it – I can see no problem with quarantine free travel with those Pacific islands,” he said.

“Where it gets complicated is Australia, which has some states that are virtually Covid free, we could perhaps come to some arrangements with them.”

Earlier New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government’s first priority for a travel bubble remained Australia.

Meanwhile a Rarotongan community leader in the Cook Islands said people were keen to open up a Pacific travel bubble with New Zealand, provided Australia was not included.

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