New Zealand has announced its updated phased plans for easing its Covid-related border restrictions, after previously postponing the reopening of its borders.
The phased easing begins with the removal of managed isolation and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residents returning from Australia from 27 February. People entering the country will still be required to self-isolate for ten days but can do so from home.
This will be followed by the removal of the same restrictions for vaccinated Kiwis, and tourists and some skilled workers from all other countries from 13 March.
Up to 5,000 international students will also be allowed to enter the country from 12 April.
Beyond this, Australians and all other visitors who are entitled to travel visa-free to New Zealand are expected to be able to travel freely no later than July, with all travellers and students who do require visas being allowed to enter the country from October.
Previous plans to begin reopening the borders were postponed in late 2021
The plan closely resembles a previously declared plan to begin the phased withdrawal of all Covid border restrictions from 17 January. However, this schedule was later postponed for a minimum of six weeks due to concerns regarding the Omicron variant.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern commented: “Opening back up in this managed way balances inflows of travellers so people can reunite and fill our workforce shortages, while also ensuring our healthcare system can manage an increase in cases.”
Approximately 94 per cent of the country's population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated and 56 per cent of eligible people have had their boosters.