New Zealand will allow fully vaccinated international travelers into the country from next year, after more than 18 months of border restrictions amid Covid 19. Fully vaccinated citizens, residents and tourists will be allowed to enter the country in three phases, officiald explained on Wednesday. The border will first open to New Zealand citizens and residents traveling from neighboring Australia on January 16, before expanding to include New Zealanders the rest of the world on February 13. New Zealand has some of the strictest border measures in the world. The country has recorded more than 10,600 cases and just 40 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Everyone coming to New Zealand will have to isolate at home for seven days, show proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test, and declaration they haven’t been to a high-risk country.
“Closing our border was one of the first steps we took to keep our country safe from Covid-19 and it will be one of the last things we do in terms of opening up,” Covid response minister Chris Hipkins said. The very high risk category will be removed in December 2021 from Brazil, Fiji, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. Papua New Guinea will remain a very high risk country for New Zealand. Most people who are not New Zealand citizens or residents must get approval from Immigration NZ before traveling to New Zealand. There are exceptions for some vessels. These include cargo ships, fishing vessels unloading catch, and ships coming from Antarctica.