New Zealand has finally announced the re-opening of its borders, with the official opening date set for February 27.
From 11.59 pm on February 27, fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and other permitted Australian residents will be eligible to enter the country. Travelers desiring to enter New Zealand from other parts of the world will be eligible to do so from March 13, just two weeks later.
Hotel quarantine will not be a requirement for travelers entering the country from this date, however, they will still be required to self-isolate for seven or ten days. New Zealand plans to open its borders to the rest of the world by October this year.
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The announcement is welcomed news for many Australians, with many families having endured months without seeing their loved ones as they were unable to secure a place in hotel quarantine.
Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins said it was time to shift Australia’s Covid-19 response to focus on social and economic recovery.
“This is a very carefully developed plan that replaces MIQ for the vast majority of travelers while ensuring we maintain ongoing measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our community from recent arrivals,” Hipkins said in a statement.
“With 94 per cent of our population fully vaccinated and 92 per cent of those over 18 now eligible for a booster by the end of February, it’s time to shift gears in our Covid-19 response to focus on reconnection and recovery.
“Families and friends need to reunite. Our businesses need to grow. Exporters need to travel to make new connections.”
The required self-isolation time required for travelers to New Zealand will decrease from ten days to seven days when Covid-19 becomes more prominent in the community. Travelers entering the country will also be supplied with three rapid antigen tests at the airport, one for day one of quarantine and the other for day five, the third acting as a spare.
“This approach means we will continue to identify causes that enter through the border and limit their wider contact with the community,” said Mr. Hipkins.
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern delivered a speech on Thursday where she identified a five-stage plan for the re-opening of the country to the world. She supports her Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) system to date despite the effects the strict quarantine has had on separated families.
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“MIQ meant not everyone could come home when they wanted to, but it also meant Covid could not come in whenever it wanted to either,” Arden said in a TV interview with business leaders.
“And that’s meant we’ve been able to build our defences to become one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.”
Currently, New Zealand is the only country in the world to prevent its citizens from returning to their homeland.