New Zealand to reopen in phases; starting with travellers visa-free nations in July
New Zeland will reopen its borders in phases after having closed for two years due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Jacinda Ardern said that tourists from Australia and other visa-free countries will only be allowed in by July and travellers from the rest of the world will be kept out until October under the plan. All travellers would still have to self-isolate for 10 days, Ardern said.
Foreign vaccinated backpackers and some skilled workers can come to the country beginning March 13, while up to 5,000 international students will be allowed to enter from April 12.
Vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia can travel home from February 27 without a requirement to stay at state-managed quarantine facilities, while New Zealand citizens in the rest of the world will be able to do so two weeks later, Ardern said.
Opening borders in a managed way would allow people to reunite and help fill workforce shortages while ensuring the healthcare system could manage an expected increase in cases, she stated. “Our strategy with Omicron is to slow the spread, and our borders are part of that,” she told a business audience in Auckland.
The highly contagious variant of the virus currently dominant around the world was recently detected in New Zealand, and case numbers are slowly mounting.