Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

New Zealanders and residents of most countries will be admitted quarantine-free from 13 February.

New Zealand will keep its borders closed for a further five months to most international travelers, the government said on Wednesday, outlining a cautious easing of border borders that has been in place since COVID-19 hit in March 2020 .

Along with its geographical isolation, the South Pacific country has enforced some of the strictest pandemic restrictions among OECD countries, limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping its economy to recover faster than many of its peers.

But an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant earlier this year has forced a shift in strategy, with the capital Auckland now only gradually opening up as vaccination rates rise.

Fully vaccinated international travelers will be allowed to enter the country from April 30, 2022, with the reopening taking place in due course, Chris Hipkins, Minister of Response to COVID-19, said at a news conference.

Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and residence visa holders in neighboring Australia can travel to New Zealand from 16 January, while vaccinated New Zealanders and residence visa holders from most other countries will be admitted from 13 February.

Phased approach

“A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach to ensuring risk is managed carefully,” Hipkins said.

“It reduces any potential impact on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system.”

Travelers will no longer be required to stay at state quarantine facilities, he said, but other measures will be put in place, including a negative test before departure, proof that they have been fully vaccinated and a COVID-19 test at arrival.

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