New Zealand to reopen borders after nearly two years of Covid isolation

WION Web Team
Wellington, New Zealand Updated: Mar 16, 2022, 02:43 PM(IST)

FILE PHOTO: New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

With 72 per cent of the adult population having received the booster shot and 95 per cent of those aged 12 and above getting both vaccination shots, the government believes that it is the right time to end the restrictions.

New Zealand has decided to bring forward the opening of its international borders after more than two years of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country implemented some of the toughest isolation rules in the world, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes that it is time to return to normalcy as she said that the possible influx of tourists will a massive boost to the nation's economy.

“We’re ready to welcome the world back,” The Guardian quoted Ardern as saying. “New Zealand will be ready with open arms.”

"Closing our border was one of the first actions we took to stop COVID-19, over two years ago, and its reopening will spur our economic recovery throughout the remainder of the year," she added.

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The New Zealand government has announced that vaccinated tourists from Australia will be able to enter the country without any isolation period from April 12. It means that the Australian tourists will be able to visit New Zealand for the Easter school holidays next month.

“We are ready to roll out the green and gold carpet to our Australian neighbours, and in time for the school holidays,” tourism minister Stuart Nash said. “We have missed you.”

On the other hand, vaccinated tourists from visa-waiver countries which includes the US, UK, Canada, Singapore, Germany and others will also be allowed entry from May 1.

While the strict measures were able to keep the COVID-19 infection rates in check, various industries like tourism and agriculture took a massive hit. According to Tourism Industry Aotearoa, the total tourism expenditure fell by 37 per cent- a loss of around $15.6bn – in 2021.

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With 72 per cent of the adult population having received the booster shot and 95 per cent of those aged 12 and above getting both vaccination shots, the government believes that it is the right time to end the restrictions.

The visitors must be vaccinated and they will have to provide negative Covid tests upon arrival.

The border is not expected to completely reopen until October for travellers all around the world but the government has hinted that they may consider opening the borders ahead of schedule.

Watch | New Zealand borders to reopen; Visa-Waiver countries tourists can travel from May 1

 

(With agency inputs)

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