New Zealand plans to allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries from early next year as part of a phased reopening of borders closed last year due to the pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday. .
Ardern said the government will move to a new individual risk-based quarantine-free travel model from the first quarter of 2022, which will create low, medium and high-risk routes into the country.
Vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries can travel quarantine-free, while travelers from medium and high-risk countries must undergo a combination of quarantine measures, ranging from self-isolation to 14 days in quarantine.
“We are just not in a position to fully reopen yet. If we do move, we will be careful and deliberate as we want to move with confidence and as much certainty as possible,” Ardern said in a speech at a forum about reconnecting of New Zealanders with the world.
Ardern has received worldwide acclaim for containing the local transmission of COVID-19 through a rigorous elimination strategy. The country has only registered 2,500 cases and 26 deaths.
Ardern said a self-isolation pilot project will be launched this year and new testing and vaccine control systems will be set up at the borders.
The country will also accelerate the rollout of vaccinations so that all eligible ages can book their vaccine by Sept. 1, Ardern said. It will also move to a six-week period between doses to ensure more New Zealanders are at least partially vaccinated.
Ardern said the government will maintain its elimination strategy.
“If we give up our elimination approach too soon, there’s no turning back, and we could see significant outbreaks here, like some overseas countries have opened up early in their vaccination rollout,” Ardern said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)