New Zealand’s prime minister has announced that the country will reopen for international travel in early 2022. The reopening of the country, which was shut down after a series of earthquakes in late 2016, is expected to be a boon for tourism.
New Zealand will be reopening for international travel in early 2022. The country has been closed to foreign travelers since 2015.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this morning in a speech that the country would reopen to vaccinated visitors in early 2022.
Given the government of New Zealand’s adamant border restrictions during the epidemic, this is huge news.
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“We can’t have border controls in place indefinitely, and to be clear, we don’t want to, and neither do the experts we spoke with. Border restrictions were always just a stopgap tactic to keep COVID out until a vaccine could be produced and given “Ardern said.
“We will continue in that route as long as the scientific data indicates we can safely shift from a border defense to the individual armor of the vaccination,” she said.
International visitors will not be permitted to visit New Zealand until COVID-19 vaccinations have been shown to successfully prevent the spread of the virus and all Kiwis have been vaccinated, according to Ardern.
Ardern stated that the government will seek to speed up New Zealand’s COVID-19 immunization campaign in readiness for a gradual reopening next year. Despite its other achievements, New Zealand, like Australia, has had difficulty with vaccination delivery. Only around 20% of Kiwis over the age of 16 are completely vaccinated, compared to 23% of Australians over the age of 16.
New Zealand’s reopening plan includes establishing a tiered, risk-based system for international visitors, with restrictions depending on their place of origin, according to CNN Travel. In any case, only vaccinated travelers will be allowed entry, but those from high-risk countries will be required to quarantine for two weeks in a managed facility, while those from medium-risk countries may be allowed to self-isolate or have their quarantine reduced, and those from low-risk countries will be allowed to enter without quarantining at all.
The administration hasn’t decided which nations will be placed into each risk category since the anticipated reopening is still at least six months away. While the proposal marks a major loosening of New Zealand’s stringent border rules, it still seems to be harsh on vaccinated foreign visitors arriving from places other than low-risk regions. However, it is because of this rigorous attitude that the COVID-19 numbers are so low.
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, was pictured in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Nevada.Halbert on Flickr)
“Principle number one will remain…maintaining our virus-eradication approach so we can preserve our hard-won achievements and keep our choices open,” Ardern added. “The best way to preserve our regular lives as we watch the twists and turns of COVID-19 over the next six months is to take a cautious attitude that says there won’t be zero instances, but when there is one in the community, we crush it.”
New Zealand has one of the lowest infection rates and mortality rates of any industrialized country in the world. In the five million-strong population, less than 3,000 cases and 26 fatalities have been reported. After COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Ardern commended the government’s quick response in shutting the country’s borders to all non-residents.
They’ve been securely sealed ever since, with a few exceptions. Those who do arrive from most other countries are now subjected to pre-departure testing and a 14-day quarantine in a controlled facility.
New Zealand has limited arrangements allowing quarantine-free travel with neighboring Australia and some Pacific islands, but some of those rules have been suspended in light of the current Delta variant epidemic in Australia, which has caused significant lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne.
Visit newzealand.com for more details.
The new zealand border reopening is a decision that will allow foreign travelers to enter New Zealand again.
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