Posted on November 24, 2021 8:50 AM
In New Zealand, foreign travelers will remain persona non grata until the end of April, as the archipelago gradually relaxes international arrival procedures, which are so far among the strictest in the world. The minister in charge of combating COVID-19 indicated that New Zealanders stranded in Australia could return from mid-January, while the rest of the world will have to wait until February.
For their part, foreigners will be able to visit the archipelago from the end of April, according to the gradual reopening plan unveiled on Wednesday. “We know the situation has been difficult, but the end of the travel restrictions is imminent,” Chris Hepkins told reporters.
New Zealand closed its borders in March 2020. All people coming from abroad had to observe a two-week quarantine in a hotel. This period has recently been reduced to seven days. The minister went even further by declaring that with the gradual opening of its borders, to Australia and then to the rest of the world, travelers will have to self-isolate at home for seven days after they tested positive and fully immune to the coronavirus.
It contains a delta variable
The announcement comes amid growing pressure from New Zealanders stranded abroad and frustration at not being able to book rooms in non-quarantine hotels. New Zealand earlier this week announced a change in its strategy to fight Covid-19, deciding to contain the delta variant rather than eliminate it. The disease has killed just 40 people out of a population of 5 million, but the authorities have admitted that the Delta variant was a game-changer and that they should abandon their goal of zero Covid.
Chris Hepkins admitted that many locals wanted the borders to reopen for Christmas, but felt that was unrealistic. “The global epidemic is continuing, with an increase in the number of cases in Europe and other parts of the world. So we must pay attention to the reopening of our borders, and this is what we are doing and what we have always done,” he emphasized. As of December, the minister said, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Fiji and Brazil will not be rated among the very high-risk countries.
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