New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has announced plans to reopen the country’s borders in 2022.
Making the announcement today, August 12, Ardern said the country will still maintain a COVID-19 elimination strategy — with vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries not required to quarantine when they come into the country.
New Zealand has been praised for it’s handling of the virus so far.
It has some of the lowest coronavirus rates in the world, reporting fewer than 2,900 infections and 26 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. It’s detected no community cases for 166 days, containing COVID-19 to managed quarantine facilities.
The country closed its border to non-residents in March last year as the pandemic spread across the world
The government on Thursday said it will implement a phased, risk-based system for travelers entering New Zealand from early 2022, once all NZ residents have been offered Pfizer doses — the only coronavirus vaccine available in the country.
“Low-Risk, Medium-Risk and High-Risk travel pathways will be created, and which pathway a traveller takes will be based on the risk associated with where they are coming from and their vaccination status,” Ardern said.
Under this system, vaccinated travelers from high-risk countries would need to quarantine in a managed facility for 14 days. Those from medium-risk countries would have a reduced quarantine period, or be allowed to self-isolate.
Travelers from low-risk countries would not have to quarantine upon arrival.
“Our ultimate goal is to get to quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated travelers,” Ardern said.
“A careful approach that says, there won’t be zero cases, but when there is one in the community, we crush it, is the best way to maintain our normal lives while we monitor the twists and turns of COVID-19 over the next six months.”