New Zealand has announced it will reopen its borders to vaccinated visitors in the opening months of 2022, for the first time since prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced their snap closure in the first month of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country’s borders have been closed for more than a year and a half.
The border will initially open to New Zealand citizens and visa holders coming from Australia, then from the rest of the world, and finally to all other vaccinated visitors from the end of April. They will still have to self-isolate at home for a week, but will no longer have to pass through the country’s expensive and highly-space limited managed isolation facilities.
“Closing our border was one of the first steps we took to keep our country safe from Covid-19 and it will be one of the last things we do in terms of opening up,” Covid response minister Chris Hipkins said. “We do know that the international restrictions we have had around our border have been tough for many people.”
While that timeline is still some time off, news of a border reopening will come as a huge relief for many overseas New Zealanders who have been stranded for most of the last year, competing for a small number of spots in managed isolation.