World

New Zealand will reopen to visitors in stages, government announces

New Zealand has announced it will reopen its border to visitors in stages. The first stage will commence at the end of February, after its earlier plans to do so were delayed by Omicron. 

It will be the first time the country has opened-up since prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced its snap closure in the first month of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The country’s borders have been closed, apart from a brief bubble with Australia, for nearly two years.

“With Omicron’s arrival, we pushed that change in border settings out – to give ourselves the chance to roll out boosters – a chance most other countries never had,” Ardern said in a speech on Thursday.

“With our community better protected we must turn to the importance of reconnection. Families and friends need to reunite. Our businesses need skills to grow. Exporters need to travel to make new connections.”

By February 27 New Zealanders will be allowed to travel quarantine-free from Australia. By March 13, doors will be opened for NZ citizens arriving from elsewhere in the world plus some vaccinated skilled workers and backpackers, all quarantine-free. By April 12, up to 5,000 international students will be allowed to enter.

In July, the country is expected to open up to non-citizens from visa-waiver countries, including Australia, the USA and the UK. The rest of the world won’t be invited to visit New Zealand until October when Ms. Ardern intends to fully open the country’s borders.

During a speech in Auckland, Ms. Ardern said that opening “in this managed way balances inflows of travellers so people can reunite and fill our workforce shortages.” It will also “ensure our healthcare system can manage an increase in cases.”

The country’s “strategy with Omicron is to slow the spread” and “our borders are part of that,” the prime minister added. New Zealand, with a population of five million people, has had about 17,000 confirmed COVID cases and 53 deaths.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CNN

The following two tabs change content below.
Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

Leave a Reply