The Government is getting caught out with so-called "mixed messages" on foreign travel. It is a real problem that may not be clarified any time soon. The reason there are mixed messages is because the Government wants to put out mixed messages. The clash between health and economic interests is coming more closely into focus.
We have two options. Go all in for elimination of the virus in Ireland by maintaining an ultra-strict quarantine policy on visitors or returning residents. Or we can have a managed suppression of the virus by opening up travel without quarantine but trying to introduce the best track and trace system we can.
Neither will work effectively in Ireland and that is why we are heading for trouble.
The mood in the country right now seems to be for strict quarantine on visitors or preferably no visitors at all. Increasingly, people are looking towards New Zealand, which shut its borders in March. It has kept strict quarantine in place and has eliminated the virus. In many ways life has returned virtually to normal with concerts, crowds at rugby matches and a fully open economy.
However, if you arrive in New Zealand off a plane tomorrow, you will be escorted from the airport to a dedicated residential unit where you must quarantine - not restricted movement - for 14 days.
They are talking about retaining these arrangements for months to come, possibly until sometime close to Christmas. It is unbelievably strict.
We cannot do this in Ireland for a number of reasons. We can't afford it. In New Zealand, tourism employs 233,000 people and accounts for 10pc of GDP. Not dissimilar to here. The restrictions are devastating for the sector. But New Zealand can afford to take the more economically expensive option and borrow what it needs to get through the crisis.
We cannot. New Zealand entered this crisis with a national debt measured by net core crown debt equal to 25pc of its GDP. It plans to borrow tens of billions of euro over the next four years, which will increase the debt to GDP ratio to around 54pc.
New Zealand avoided the last financial crash. In Ireland we most certainly did not. We entered the last financial crash with a national debt of just €37bn or 24pc of GDP. We exited it with a national debt of €200bn.
Our debt/GDP is running just below 70pc now but we all know our GDP is somewhat over-hyped so the real figure is probably closer to 90pc of GNI - a better yardstick for economic activity in Ireland.
Yes, we can afford to borrow at very low rates to help us through this. But we are not remotely near New Zealand debt levels.
The return to "normality" in New Zealand, having eliminated the virus, means the domestic economy is bouncing back well. A New Zealand economic activity index for June showed it was only 0.9pc down on the same month last year. Business confidence is also improving.
However, they expect the restrictions on foreign visitors to result in a 4pc contraction in GDP this year.
Another big economic hit is the lack of access to overseas labour which it relies heavily on for fruit-picking and similar work.
The New Zealanders have chosen the right time to prioritise health over economy. They can borrow their way through the crisis at incredibly low interest rates and fill their boots with other people's cash.
The exchequer frugality of previous years has helped. From a social and health point of view they can benefit, having eliminated the virus for now.
At home, our challenges are not just fiscal or economic. The country seems to think it has cracked the community transmission of the virus and the only thing presenting a risk now is people coming in from abroad or returning home from abroad.
Yet we have seen higher case numbers on the back of community transmission and not necessarily imported cases. Half of all new recent Irish cases have been health workers. Only 10pc of new cases here recently are travel- related.
This goes against the nonsensical narrative that "if we could only keep the Texans out, we would be all right".
The cracks are now starting to show in the inevitable clash between economic and health concerns. Lots more people are holidaying at home this summer. It is good for the economy and good for containment of the virus.
The airline industry needs passengers on seats in both directions. If we put a hold on travel in both directions, we don't know how long it will have to remain in place. We might not see a vaccine for next summer.
Staycations will never replace the 10.6 million visitors who came last year.
Those who think New Zealand should be the answer for us should look at the figures. They can afford it. Our past mistakes are still with us.