New Zealand to open borders with some Pacific nations from Nov. 8
Home isolation for overseas travelers to be introduced in 1st quarter of 2022, says minister
New Zealand on Thursday announced to open one-way quarantine free travel with some Pacific nations from Nov. 8 as part of its plan to ease strict border restrictions.
In a statement, Chris Hipkins, the country's COVID-19 response minister, said the government is starting a phased easing of border restrictions that will also see the time spent in state quarantine facilities halved for overseas arrivals from Nov. 14, and home isolation introduced in the first quarter of next year.
“The easing of managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) requirements is part of a broader plan to re-open New Zealand safely and reconnect with the world," he said.
Under the new plan, fully vaccinated people will spend seven days in quarantine instead of 14 days.
“We’re also expanding one-way quarantine free travel from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu to include travelers from those countries and Tokelau who have the right to reside permanently in New Zealand and people covered by border exceptions, from 8 November," the minister said. “Travelers must be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens."
New Zealand was among the first few countries that banned entry to all non-residents in March 2020, in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Earlier, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the government will end strict coronavirus restrictions after achieving the target of fully vaccinating 90% of the population.
So far, the island nation has administered over 6.68 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and 59.4% of the country's nearly 6 million people are fully vaccinated.
The country reported 97 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 5,995 since the outbreak, including 28 related deaths.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid