WELLINGTON (dpa-AFX) – New Zealand is expected to reopen its borders for foreign travelers for the first time in early 2022. This is possible because there will be a vaccination offer for all New Zealanders from September – three months earlier than planned, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday. The island nation in the South Pacific had largely isolated itself from the outside world in March 2020.
Only New Zealand citizens and people residing in the country were allowed to enter. In April, the government opened a travel corridor with neighboring Australia, but it was closed again at the end of July due to a corona wave down under.
The border closings had served as a kind of “collective armament”, said Ardern at a forum entitled “Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World”. The vaccinations now give everyone an “individual armor”, which means that the national borders could be reopened.
Different rules should apply to travelers depending on their country of origin and vaccination status. Fully vaccinated people from low-incidence countries are now planning to return to New Zealand without quarantine. Unvaccinated people and people from high-risk areas, on the other hand, have to remain in isolation for 14 days.
The country with five million inhabitants is regarded worldwide as a model state in the fight against the pandemic. So far, only around 2900 infections have been confirmed, 26 people have died in connection with Covid-19. Large events with tens of thousands of visitors have been taking place in New Zealand for a long time./rjl/cfn/DP/zb