New Zealand medical travel must wait until 2022

New Zealanders normally travel for medical treatment to Australia, and to Malaysia or Thailand for cosmetic surgery and dental care, but 2021 medical tourism figures in and out will be zero. While recent changes will make it easier for New Zealanders stranded abroad to return home, there is no date for when inbound and outbound travel will be allowed.

It will take 90% population vaccination rate across all districts to end strict COVID-19 restrictions in New Zealand, and full internal and travel freedoms will only apply to people who are fully vaccinated.

From November, most people arriving in New Zealand will need to spend seven days in a quarantine hotel run by the military, rather than the previous 14-day rule.

Some new arrivals from low-risk Pacific island countries could skip quarantine altogether and isolate at home.

The new rules are an interim step ahead of broader reopening measures that would be gradually introduced once more than 90% of New Zealanders aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated. So far, 72% of eligible people have had both shots.

Most new arrivals will be able to isolate at home by sometime in the first quarter of 2022. The first priority is New Zealanders and those with valid visas.