New Zealand to start easing tough Covid-19 border controls

Wellington – New Zealand will start easing some of the world’s toughest pandemic border restrictions this month but will not fully reopen until October, said Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.

Arden announced a five-step plan to reconnect New Zealand to the rest of the world, beginning with waiving hotel quarantine requirements for its nationals stranded overseas by the pandemic.

“It’s time to move again,” said Arden, who has been under pressure recently to relax border policies that have been largely unchanged since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis almost two years ago.

“Families and friends need to reunite, our businesses need skills to grow, exporters need to travel to make new connections.”

The prime minister said New Zealanders in Australia could return home and self-isolate, rather than going into quarantine, from February 27, followed two weeks later by Kiwis elsewhere in the world.

The option will then be progressively made available to other groups such as skilled migrants, international students, Australians, and eventually all vaccinated foreign nationals.

International arrivals will be required to self-isolate for 10 days instead of undergoing a 10-day hotel quarantine monitored by New Zealand military personnel.

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