New Zealand to welcome vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries without quarantine next year

As part of New Zealand’s phased reopening of the borders, they will be accepting travellers based on a new individual risk-based model.

Khalisa Zulkiflee

Creative writer and comedian on the side.

Published: 12 August 2021, 12:12 PM

New Zealand plans to welcome vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries without quarantine in 2022. 

This is part of their phased reopening of the borders after it was shut last year due to the pandemic, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday (Aug 12).

From the first quarter of 2022, the New Zealand government will move to a new individual risk-based model for quarantine-free travel that will establish low-, medium- and high-risk pathways into the country. 

This will mean that vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries can travel quarantine-free, while those from medium- and high-risk countries will have to go through quarantine measures such as self-isolation and spending 14 days in quarantine. 

In a speech at a forum, Ms Adern said that the country is “simply not in a position to fully reopen yet”.  

“When we move we will be careful and deliberate, because we want to move with confidence and with as much certainty as possible,” she added. 

With just 2,500 cases and 26 deaths recorded in New Zealand, Ms Adern has won global plaudits for containing local transmission of COVID-19 through a strict elimination strategy. 

A self-isolation pilot project will start this year, and new testing and vaccine checking systems will be set up at the borders. 

Their vaccination rollout will also be sped up for all eligible ages by Sep 1. New Zealand will move to a six-week gap between doses to ensure more New Zealanders are at least partially vaccinated. Currently, only about 21 per cent of New Zealand’s population are fully vaccinated. 

Ms Adern also mentioned that the government will maintain its elimination strategy. 

“If we give up our elimination approach too soon there is no going back, and we could see significant breakouts here like some countries overseas are experiencing who have opened up early in their vaccination rollout.”

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