As countries go, New Zealand has been the big winner when it comes to COVID. They’ve managed that with the use of early lockdowns early in the pandemic, and continued use of partial lockdowns and contract tracing. Along with that, hardly anyone has been allowed to enter the country, save for those eligible via a travel bubble agreement with Australia. However, even that was shut down by NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when cases of the delta variant increased in Australia.
Being “Fortress New Zealand” has served the country well. The country of 5 million has only suffered 3,000 cases and 26 deaths. And although only 29% of New Zealanders have received one dose of the vaccine and 17% are fully vaccinated, life there has returned to almost normal. However it can’t stay closed off forever, so the island nation has now announced its plan for opening its borders for quarantine-free travel.
Nothing will begin until early next year, after the country’s vaccine rollout is completed. And, not surprisingly, only travelers who have been fully vaccinated need apply.
As per Ardern, fully vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries would not be required to quarantine. Those who are visiting from medium-risk countries would need to complete some form of quarantine. And finally, those arriving from high-risk countries, or who were unvaccinated, would need to stay in a quarantine hotel run by the military for a full 2 weeks.
No ranking of countries was offered, as the government suggested such a list could change quickly.
Ardern and her team have, obviously, played her cards extremely carefully throughout the pandemic. From the Washington Post:
Even looking into next year, New Zealand will consider several factors when determining how travelers from different destinations will be allowed in. These include the number of cases in a country, the prevalence of variants of concern, vaccination rates and New Zealand’s confidence in the country’s strategy for managing outbreaks.
This fall, a new trial will begin where business travelers could quarantine at home, rather than military-run motels. This trial will test the system the country plans to use for medium-risk countries next year.
Feature Photo: Maxpixel
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary