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New Zealand plans to welcome fully-vaxxed visitors early next year

  • Buzz
  •   08-12-2021  1:52 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

New Zealand plans to welcome fully-vaxxed visitors early next year
Pax Global Media

New Zealand has announced plans to reopen its borders to international travellers early next year, the government said on Thursday (Aug. 12).

In an address Thursday morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said the government will take a phased-approach to reopening its borders – an approach that is similar to Canada’s own loosening of travel restrictions.

"Our ultimate goal is to get to quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated travellers,” Arden said. “And what you can see from today is our direction and ambition is clear. But we're simply not in a position to fully reopen just yet.”

New Zealand, with a population of almost 5 million people, emerged as a global leader in managing its coronavirus situation – the country, where everyday life in many parts has mostly returned to normal, diagnosed fewer than 3,000 COVID-19 cases and just 26 deaths.

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Strict travel restrictions have been key to New Zealand’s success, Ardern said.

The South Pacific nation’s borders closed to all non-residents in March 2020 and a mandatory 14-day quarantine rule has been enforced, which has limited traffic substantially.  

"If New Zealand had been hit as hard as the United Kingdom or United States, nearly 10,000 Kiwis would have died," Arden said.

New Zealand’s borders will not reopen until after the country’s vaccine rollout is completed at the end of 2021, she said.

Currently, roughly 29 per cent of New Zealanders have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 17 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The reopening plan, Arden said, is to allow fully vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries to enter without being required to quarantine.

Travellers from medium-risk countries would need to complete some form of quarantine and those from high-risk countries, or who are unvaccinated, would need to stay for 14 days in a military-run hotel facility

"While the pandemic continues to rage overseas, and the virus continues to change and mutate, the best thing we can do is lock in the gains achieved to date while keeping our options open," she said.

A trial period for business travellers will also begin this October that will allow eligible individuals to complete their quarantine at home rather in a hotel, Arden said.

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