New Zealand is set to reopen its border to visitors in stages, after remaining largely closed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will be the first time the country has reopened after being closed in 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic. According to reports, its borders have remained closed ever since.
Reports indicate that fully vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia can return home from February 27, without having to undergo quarantine in state-run facilities, while New Zealanders in the rest of the world will be allowed to do so two weeks later.
Additionally, some skilled workers and vaccinated foreigners will be allowed to enter the country from March 13, while up to 5,000 international students will be allowed to enter from April 12.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said visa-free tourists from Australia and other countries will be allowed to enter the country by July, while those from the rest of the world will have to wait until October. The Prime Minister also said all travelers should still self-isolate for 10 days.
She explained that the gradual opening of borders would allow people to come together and further help fill labor shortages, while ensuring the health system is able to handle an expected surge in cases.
She also added that their strategy with Omicron is to slow the spread, and opening borders gradually is part of that plan.
The highly contagious variant of the virus is currently dominant around the world and was also recently detected in New Zealand. According to reports, the number of cases there is also skyrocketing.