New Zealand reopens borders sooner than expected

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand plans to offer to reopen its international borders to some travelers, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the influx of tourists would boost the country’s economy.

Jacinda Ardern told reporters on Wednesday that vaccinated travelers from Australia can enter New Zealand without having to undergo a quarantine period as early as April 12. New Zealand had originally planned to allow them into its territory from July.

Tourists from visa-exempt countries, such as the United States, Great Britain or Singapore, will be able to travel to New Zealand from May 1.

All travelers must be vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19. Borders won’t reopen for all travelers until October, but Jacinda Ardern indicated that date could be brought forward.

New Zealand closed its borders more than two years ago to protect itself from the coronavirus pandemic. But with the spread of the Omicron variant, which has generally caused less severe forms of COVID-19 compared to previous strains of the coronavirus, voices have been raised against this strict policy, especially in the tourism and agricultural sectors that do not understand the need for such isolation.

(Report by Lucy Cramer, French version by Camille Raynaud)

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