New Zealand to reopen to foreign travellers from April 30, Latest World News - The New Paper

New Zealand to reopen to foreign travellers from April 30

WELLINGTON (REUTERS) - New Zealand will keep its borders closed to most international travellers for a further five months, the government said on Wednesday (Nov 24), outlining a cautious easing of border curbs that have been in place since Covid-19 hit in March 2020. 

Along with its geographic isolation, the South Pacific country enforced some of the tightest pandemic restrictions among nations in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, limiting the spread of Covid-19 and helping its economy bounce back 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 main city of Auckland now only gradually opening up as vaccination rates climb. 

Fully vaccinated international travellers will be allowed to enter the country from April 30, 2022, onwards, with the reopening staged over time, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told a news conference. 

Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and residence visa holders in neighbouring Australia can travel to New Zealand from Jan 16, while vaccinated New Zealanders and residence visa holders from other countries will be allowed in from Feb 13. 

"A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully managed," Mr Hipkins said. "This reduces any potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system."

Travellers will no longer be required to stay at state quarantine facilities, he said, but other measures will be put in place, including a negative pre-departure test, proof of being fully vaccinated and a Covid-19 test upon arrival. 

New ZealandcoronavirusTOURISM & TRAVEL