Home Lifestyle New Zealand eases quarantine but won't welcome tourists yet | Travel

New Zealand eases quarantine but won’t welcome tourists yet | Travel


New Zealand officials said Thursday they will gradually loosen their border quarantine requirements, which have been among the toughest in the world throughout the pandemic.

But while the changes will make it easier for New Zealanders stranded abroad to return home, officials gave no date for when tourists might be welcomed back. That change is likely still months away.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that from next month, most people arriving in New Zealand would need to spend seven days in a quarantine hotel run by the military, half the previous requirement.

ALSO READ: New Zealand considers tourism change to counter negative impacts

He said some new arrivals from low-risk Pacific island countries could skip quarantine altogether and isolate at home.

He said the new rules were an interim step ahead of broader reopening measures that would be gradually introduced once more than 90 per cent of New Zealanders aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated. So far, 72 per cent of eligible people have had both shots.

The change follows a growing outcry from New Zealanders who have been trying to return home but have been unable to secure spots in the quarantine system. Some have resorted to legal action.

“I acknowledge that there’s a lot of pressure there. My message to the people who are keen to get back into New Zealand is: There isn’t very long to wait now,” Hipkins said. “And encouraging their fellow New Zealanders to get fully vaccinated will help us get to that point faster.”

Hipkins said he expected most new arrivals would be able to isolate at home by sometime in the first quarter of next year. He said the first priority was New Zealanders and those with valid visas.

“Tourists are more of a challenge, in that they don’t necessarily have somewhere to isolate on arrival,” Hipkins said. “But we’ll work our way through all of that.”

Political opponents said the changes didn’t go far enough and that fully vaccinated travellers returning home posed little risk.

Before the pandemic began, more than 3 million tourists visited New Zealand each year, and the industry was among the nation’s largest earners of foreign income.

For more than a year after the pandemic began, the strict quarantine system helped New Zealand remain almost completely virus-free and allowed life to return to normal.

But an outbreak of the more contagious delta variant in Auckland more than two months ago has proved impossible to extinguish, forcing officials to abandon their previous zero-tolerance approach in favour of a suppression strategy.

With the virus continuing to spread in Auckland, which remains in lockdown, the border requirements had begun to seem outdated.

Thursday’s announcement came after officials said two people in the city of Christchurch had caught the virus after one returned from Auckland. There was no immediate evidence the virus was spreading further in the city. 

Follow more stories on Facebook & Twitter

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.





Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

Omicron Covid variant: White House plans to tighten travel rules to contain the pandemic | Travel

The Biden administration plans to tighten travel rules to combat the omicron variant of the coronavirus, by requiring all air travellers to the...

Horoscope Today: Astrological prediction for December 01 | Astrology

All zodiac signs have their own characteristics and traits which define someone’s personality. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you started your day by...

Milind Soman, Ankita Konwar drop couple fitness inspo as they run in Madurai | Health

Another day, another trip together and another reason for Milind Soman and wife Ankita Konwar to raise the bar of couple fitness goals...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

CNN Suspends Anchor Chris Cuomo, Says He Helped His Brother, New York Ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo

<!-- -->Chris Cuomo is under scrutiny for his involvement in his brother's defense.New York, United States: CNN said Tuesday it had indefinitely suspended...

Omicron Covid variant: White House plans to tighten travel rules to contain the pandemic | Travel

The Biden administration plans to tighten travel rules to combat the omicron variant of the coronavirus, by requiring all air travellers to the...

New York’s Metropolitan Museum Of Art Gets Its Biggest Donation Ever

<!-- -->In return, the newly renovated space will bear their names, the museum said.New York, United States: A Chinese-American couple has donated a...

Pfizer Seeks US Approval For Covid Boosters For Ages 16-17

<!-- -->US health authorities are urging all adults to get boosted when they are eligible.Washington, United States: Pfizer announced Tuesday it was seeking...

Recent Comments