New Zealand’s much-awaited, albeit cautious, roadmap for reopening its borders has given businesses and families a taste of hope for the future, though health experts warn that it is dependent on improving the country’s vaccination strategy to reach vulnerable communities.
The prime minister Jacinda Ardern laid out the reopening plans at a forum in Wellington on Thursday, 17 months after borders closed in March 2020.
Ardern indicated that, all going well, vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries will be allowed to skip quarantine and enter the country early next year. Travellers from medium-risk countries would undertake some form of self-isolation or a shorter stay in a quarantine hotel, while MIQ would still be required for those coming from high-risk countries, or those who are unvaccinated.
The proposals are contingent on an accelerated vaccine rollout in the next few months as the country seeks to avoid the lockdowns that are currently taking place in Australia.
Business leader and former chief executive of Air New Zealand Rob Fyfe said he felt encouraged that the strategy was “a clear signal of intent to open up”.
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