New Zealand: five stage opening plans

New Zealand’s borders have been shut for nearly two years due to the pandemic.  The country has announced a phased reopening of its borders, in five stages until October.

Vaccinated citizens in Australia can go home from 27 February. Fully vaccinated citizens living elsewhere will be allowed in from 13 March.  Both will still have to self-isolate for 10 days but can do so at home.

New Zealand’s re-opening will be in five stages-

  • Step 1: Fully vaccinated New Zealanders from Australia can return home from 27 February without needing to undergo state mandatory hotel quarantine.
  • Step 2: Fully vaccinated citizens from all other countries are able to arrive from 13 March. This also applies to a number of critical and skilled foreign workers.
  • Step 3: Up to 5,000 international students are allowed into the country from 12 April.
  • Step 4: Australians and all other visitors who can normally travel visa-free to NZ are expected to be able to travel to the country no later than July
  • Step 5: Begins in October and includes all other visitors and students who normally require a visa

94% of the country’s population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated and 56% of eligible people have had their boosters.

The self-isolation period is currently set at 10 days, per the current health guidelines, but could be shortened to seven days at a later date.

Under the New Zealand Government’s self-isolation requirements, travellers will be provided three rapid antigen tests upon arriving, the result of which must then be declared. The first test will be used on day zero or one, and the second for use on day five or six, with one extra for backup. Anyone who tests positive will have to take a PCR test at a testing centre or general practitioner in order to quickly identify and respond to new variants at the border.

The new rules do away with managed isolation and quarantine, although that will remain for any unvaccinated traveller who must stay 14 days in a designated facility.