New Zealand will remain closed to foreign travelers until the end of April

Hope and bitterness among New Zealanders stranded abroad: The country will open its borders after nearly two years

A picture of an Air New Zealand Boeing 767 before take-off at Auckland International Airport (New Zealand). EFE / David White

New Zealanders are stranded abroad and desperately need to go home They have had a moment of great emotion with the announcement that they will be able to return in early 2022, as well as with the novelty of being able to avoid the government-run mandatory confinement system. However, not everyone is happy to encounter another summer separated from their loved ones.

The country will reopen its borders to shielded visitors in the early months of 2022 for the first time since Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a rapid shutdown in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s borders have been closed to unrestricted travel for nearly two years.

The borders will be open initially to New Zealanders and visa holders coming from Australia, then to the rest of the world and finally to all other vaccinated visitors from the end of April. They still have to do mandatory isolation in their homes for a week, but They will no longer have to pass through the country’s limited and expensive managed isolation facilities.

“Once I read the date of February 13, 2022, the file [aislamiento administrado] Kiwi in ‘high-risk’ places, I began to cry ”, Lara Iriart said. Iriart left New Zealand for a trip that was supposed to be short in February 2020, but were stranded in Panama City as the pandemic spread and New Zealand’s borders closed. Still in Central America and You haven’t seen your baby since January of last year.

FILE PHOTO: A person wearing a mask walks in front of a shop window reading "welcome back" In English in Auckland, New Zealand on November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Fiona Goodall
FILE PHOTO: A person wearing a mask walks through a shop window with “Welcome back” written in English in Auckland, New Zealand, on November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Fiona Goodall

Sheryl Clark, based in Victoria, Australia said: “Listen, we won’t have to spend the seven days there. [aislamiento administrado] It’s great news.”

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“We’ve been trying Returning to New Zealand for more than 12 monthsAnd our lives seem to have stopped to infinity. Not only with New Zealand entry restrictions, But the lockdowns in Victoria, which mean selling and organizing our home, have also been delayed month by month“.

Clark said he tried to secure a place in the solitary lottery six times and in the end She won a place when the government changed isolation requirements to seven days from November 14.

New Zealand has achieved a major vaccination campaign.  Photograph: Simon Watts/Reuters
New Zealand has achieved a major vaccination campaign. Photograph: Simon Watts/Reuters

“However, the delays realistically meant that we had to pick a date in February, so I have missed funerals for my loved ones, my sister is 70 and of course my first birthday with my family in over 15 years”Clark said.

Lisa Stella said her husband, who works in Hong Kong, has been trying to get home since June and He made seven attempts to secure a place in the managed isolation and quarantine system. “Nine minutes after hearing the news, my husband, who works abroad, got a ticket from Hong Kong to New Zealand.”

But for many New Zealanders, the government imposes strict border controls and poses a challenge to the managed isolation system They have permanently damaged their reputation.

“for me [el anuncio] It is absolutely useless and I think the current restrictions are completely exaggerated. New Zealand will be vaccinated at 90% and so will Australia. It’s time to move on and stop destroying the economy and separating families, and denying New Zealanders the right to go back and leave their country. Vanessa Freeman said.

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Freeman, a New Zealand citizen based in Melbourne, is desperate to go home and see his family in the summer. “We cannot go home during the holidays, although it is possible that workers will get time to work to spend the seven days in isolation while still seeing loved ones.”

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Reuters)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Reuters)

“My son is very close to his cousins ​​in New Zealand, my mum is older and sick, and I am emotionally tired after the last two years. I want to spend Christmas with my loved ones, recover and recharge. ”

Freeman said he initially supported the government’s response to the pandemic and voted for Labor in the 2020 election, but said: “[Ahora] They lost me and my family.”

For others, the idea of ​​New Zealand being considered a “homeland” has been questioned. Ian Finn, who is based in Austria, said he was surprised New Zealand can ‘easily ban its citizensHe said of the border declaration: “I think it’s long overdue, but my confidence in my home country and New Zealanders has changed forever, for the worse.”

Charyl Jovignon Sweet said: “I didn’t jump for joy. The damage has already been done, in terms of my feelings for ‘home’ and what that means to me now.

In short, our nation has left us outside and the population has been silent about it, indicating an unspoken agreement between the two. Coupled with a lack of empathy or empathy for what those of us are going through, all of this has changed me forever. “.

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