New Zealand fully reopens borders, marking end of COVID controls | Coronavirus pandemic

The South Pacific nation started easing its robust border regime in February.

New Zealand has absolutely reopened to worldwide guests, lifting the final remnants of one of many hardest border regimes launched through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nation started reopening its borders in February with the lifting of restrictions on New Zealand residents, adopted in Might by the return of vacationers from greater than 50 international locations together with the USA, Canada and the UK.

The ultimate border restrictions ended at midnight on Sunday with vacationers from non-visa waiver international locations, worldwide college students, and cruise ships allowed to enter the nation.

Most guests will nonetheless must be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 and take two exams after arriving, however is not going to must quarantine.

“It’s been a staged and cautious course of on our half since February as we, alongside the remainder of the world, proceed to handle a really dwell world pandemic, whereas protecting our individuals protected,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mentioned throughout a speech on the China Enterprise Summit in Auckland on Monday.

New Zealand principally stored COVID-19 overseas through the pandemic till the arrival of the extremely infectious Omicron variant in December rendered its robust border controls largely moot.

Whereas the South Pacific nation at one level boasted one of many lowest dying tolls on earth, its isolation decimated industries such as tourism and left 1000’s of New Zealanders stranded overseas.

Earlier than the pandemic, tourism and worldwide training have been New Zealand’s largest and fourth-largest exports, respectively, with the previous using greater than 225,000 individuals.