New Zealand to ease covid-border-curbs in a phased mannertext_fields
Wellington: New Zealand has announced a cautious easing of its Covid-19 border restrictions on Wednesday but will keep its borders closed for international travellers for five more months, Reuters reported. The country's border restrictions have been on for nearly two years.
Apart from the geographic isolation, it had enforced some of the tightest Covid restrictions among OECD countries, limiting the spread of the virus and helping its economy recover faster. However, the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant earlier this year has forced the South Pacific country to isolate the main city of Auckland. Now, the city is gradually opening as the vaccination rate is increasing.
From April 30 next year, fully vaccinated international travellers will be allowed into the country, the Covid-19 response minister informed. The travellers will have to self-isolate for seven days after arrival.
Vaccinated citizens and residence visa holders in neighbouring Australia can travel to New Zealand from January 16, but the same group of people from other countries will be allowed only from February 13. The minister said they are adopting a phased approach to reconnecting with the world to manage risk carefully. It also reduces potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the health system of the country.
The minister added that travellers would no longer be required to stay at state quarantine facilities. But other measures will be there, including self-isolation, a negative pre-departure test, proof of being fully vaccinated and a covid-19 test on arrival.
As the Christmas holidays are approaching, Jacinda Ardern's administration faces pressure to open international borders, and expatriate New Zealanders want to return home. Many industries are also campaigning for the same as they struggle to fill job vacancies. Last week, Air New Zealand had announced that it had cancelled 1,000 flights due to border uncertainty.
New Zealand has recorded just over 10,000 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic broke out, and only 40 deaths were recorded.