New Zealand will not allow foreign visitors until early next year due to the coronapandemic. According to Prime Minister Ardern, the country is not ready to open borders yet, but it is going to be phased from 2022 onwards.
Vaccinated visitors from low risk countries are the first to enter New Zealand. Travelers from other countries or people who are not vaccinated must be required to quarantine, for example in special hotels.
In a press conference, Ardern explained why New Zealand should be careful:
The coronavirus approach is “cautious and controlled” in New Zealand, says correspondent Meike Wijers in theCCEIT Radio 1 Journal. “That‘s typically the Ardern approach. It fits the way New Zealand, like Australia, is fighting the pandemic. They closed the boundaries right away and imposed rigorous lockdowns in some corona infections.”
New Zealand is praised for its corona approach, but the vaccination campaign is still slow. The country with 5 million inhabitants had a total of 2,500 corona infections and 26 deaths. So far, about 21 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated, compared to 71 percent in the Netherlands.
A plan that allowed travelers to travel freely, the so-called Trans Tasman travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia, has been suspended for the time being as the number of infections in Australia surges due to the rise of the delta variant.
New Zealand adheres to the ‘zero-covid strategy‘, Wijers stresses. Prime Minister Ardern does not expect that borders will ever be the same as before the crisis. Wijers: “She even compared it to September 11. Coming and going without any conditions or measures won’t come back soon.”
The inhabitants of New Zealand support the Prime Minister, but there is more pressure on her, Wijers notes. “That‘s because of the economy that’s getting worse. Totally shutting down a country from the world costs a lot. So the pressure to open boundaries is increasing anyway.”