New Zealanders will finally be able to freely come and go from their island fortress in just a few days with the borders finally opening just a crack.
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced on Monday there will be no required quarantine for vaccinated New Zealanders returning home from March 3. Kiwis stuck in Australia through the Covid pandemic have finally been able to get back home after being locked out for months.
Kiwis in Australia could already return to New Zealand without quarantine from Monday, February 28, as part of NZ’s staggered opening scheme. Travellers from the rest of the world were required to complete seven days of self-isolation, but that will be scrapped from Thursday for all countries of arrival.
New Zealand created a five step plan for reopening its borders, with Monday’s announcement marking an acceleration of step two. Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the change allowed Kiwis to immediately reconnect with their loved ones.
‘Cabinet has agreed to lift all self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers entering New Zealand,’ he said. ‘That means that all Kiwis coming home and tourists entering the country will be able to step off the plane and immediately connect with family and friends and enjoy all New Zealand has to offer.’
Quarantine-free travel had initially been planned for March 13 but Ms Ardern said high cases in NZ meant the date could be brought forward.