Staged re-opening of borders to overseas visitors from April

Source: 1News

From April 30, fully vaccinated visitors who test negative for Covid-19 will be able to come to New Zealand in stages.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said most travellers by that point will not need to go through MIQ.

There will be a mandatory seven-day self-isolation period for those people instead, he said.

Hipkins said people shouldn’t expect travel in 2022 to be the same as in pre-pandemic times.

“All travellers will require a negative pre-departure test,” he said.

Hipkins said proof of vaccination and a declaration of recent travel will also be needed. This is to make sure that the person had not been in a very high-risk country in the past 14 days.

Travellers will need to be tested upon arrival, then be tested on day seven of their self-isolation period. Only if they test negative for Covid-19 at that point can they enter the community, Hipkins said.

He said those who are unvaccinated or don't otherwise meet the criteria will continue to need to stay in MIQ for seven days.

“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."

He said these settings, which would be under "constant review", would remain in place until public health advice says it's no longer needed.

“We will eventually reach a point, at some point, where people will be able to move much more freely across the border and those periods of self-isolation won’t be required. We’re certainly not at that point yet.”

The easing of travel restrictions for visitors will come after changes for New Zealand citizens and residents — Kiwis who are fully vaccinated can travel from Australia without MIQ from 11.59pm January 16.

Citizens and residents from other countries will be able to travel to New Zealand from 11.59pm February 13.

April will spell the end of more than two years of travel restrictions for most non-citizens and non-residents.

The closed border saw migrant families split over countries and forced tourism-reliant towns around New Zealand to diversify their offerings and focus on the domestic market in a bid to stay afloat.