New Zealand is closed to tourists until the end of April

New Zealand is closed to tourists until the end of April

(Wellington) New Zealand announced, on Wednesday, that its borders will remain closed to foreign travelers until the end of April, when the archipelago will gradually relax procedures for international arrivals, which are so far among the most stringent in the world.

COVID-19 Minister Chris Hepkins has indicated that New Zealanders stranded in Australia may return from mid-January, with the rest of the world having 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 are aware that the situation has been difficult, but the end of the travel restrictions is imminent,” Hepkins told reporters.

New Zealand closed its borders in March 2020. All people coming from abroad were asked to observe a two-week quarantine in a hotel. This period has recently been reduced to seven days.

The minister went even further on Wednesday by announcing 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 have tested positive for a complete and negative vaccination for the coronavirus. .

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.

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The disease has claimed only 40 lives out of five million people, but the authorities have admitted that the delta variant was a game-changer and they should abandon their goal of zero COVID-19.

Mr. Hepkins acknowledged that many locals wanted the borders to reopen for Christmas, but he felt that was unrealistic.

“The global pandemic continues, with an increase in the number of cases in Europe and other parts of the world,” he said. “So we have to be careful about reopening our borders, and that’s what we’ve been doing and what we’ve always done.”

The minister clarified that from next month, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Fiji and Brazil will no longer be classified as very high risk countries, which will allow their citizens to travel to New Zealand from April 30.

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