Blog syndicated with permission from “The Pursuit” at Melbourne University, Australia
By Professor Tony Blakely, Dr Tim Wilson and Associate Professor Vijaya Sundararajan, University of Melbourne
As Australia looks toward opening its international borders, new virus modelling provides scenarios that can help us decide what’s the right risk to tolerate.
Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Martin Eichner*
In this blog we detailed our just published modelling work on estimating the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks associated with air travel to NZ. We find that the risks are typically very low for travel from Australia (a “green zone” country with small occasional outbreaks from border system failures). But these risks go up if there are larger outbreaks in Australia and especially for travel from other countries (e.g., from an “amber zone” country like Japan or a “red zone” country as per the US during 2020) where rigorous border controls including 14-day quarantine are still required. With the spread of more infectious SARS-CoV-2 variants it is critical that very rigorous ongoing scientific risk assessment is used for NZ and all aspects of border control are optimised for the differing risk posed by green, amber and red zone countries.
Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Leah Grout, Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Prof Michael Baker*
Particular words and phrases can frame how issues are considered and the extent to which they imply the need for a corrective response to improve system design or delivery. After considering a range of words, we consider that the phrase “border system failure” comes closest to providing a clear, unambiguous description of situations where there are infectious cases in the community and corrective action is needed to protect public health. A typology for describing problems within NZ’s border control system could also include ways of classifying “border system hazards” that may represent “near misses” that should also stimulate corrective actions.