What is the New Zealand bubble approach?

11 May 2020, 15:51

Boris Johnson has talked about using the social bubble scheme like New Zealand
Boris Johnson has talked about using the social bubble scheme like New Zealand. Picture: PA

By Zoe Adams

Boris Johnson has revealed the UK could follow the social bubble approach in new coronavirus document outlining fresh social distancing plans.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed new coronavirus social distancing plans for people in the UK as they prepare to enter phase two of the lockdown exit strategy.

Confirming people can now meet up with one friend or family member - at a safe two meter distance outdoors - the new 50-page document outlining Covid-19 guidelines also states we could follow New Zealand’s social bubble approach in the future.

Coronavirus lockdown: Can family and friends living separately meet up?

Talking about easing lockdown rules at a later stage and helping those who are isolated, it states how the UK could plan to increase social interaction using this technique.

Outdoor exercise and meet ups can happen with one person outside your household
Outdoor exercise and meet ups can happen with one person outside your household. Picture: PA

What is New Zealand’s social bubble approach?

New Zealand’s government website describes your initial ‘social bubble’ as a person’s household.

However, as they start to ease out of lockdown, the bubble can start to expand to close relatives and local friends.

They said: “People must stay within their household bubble but can expand this to reconnect with close family, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people.

"It’s important to protect your bubble if you extend it. Keep your bubble exclusive and only include people where it will keep you and them safe and well.”

What has Boris Johnson said about social bubbles?

In the coronavirus guidelines, Boris stated the next stage of easing lockdown could include this approach to meeting friends and family.

It stated: “The Government has asked Sage to examine whether, when and how it can safely change the regulations to allow people to expand their household group to include one other household in the same exclusive group.”

This is to help those who are isolated or living alone and to also support families returning to work, for example, two households can share childcare.

It added: “This could be based on the New Zealand model of household "bubbles" where a single "bubble" is the people you live with. As in New Zealand, the rationale behind keeping household groups small is to limit the number of social contacts people have and, in particular, to limit the risk of inter- household transmissions.”

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