Sydney, Australia, Aug 12 (EFE).- New Zealand plans to allow vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries to enter without quarantine from early 2022 as part of a gradual reopening of its borders, the government announced on Thursday.
The country, which closed its international borders in March 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, said that it will begin to lift arrival restrictions from the first quarter of next year.
The reopening is based on a model that places travelers entering the country into three risk categories: low, medium and high.
“Low-Risk, Medium-Risk and High-Risk travel pathways will be created, and which pathway a traveler takes will be based on the risk associated with where they are coming from and their vaccination status,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, praised for her rapid and strong response to the pandemic.
“The Low-Risk pathway will permit quarantine free entry for vaccinated travelers who have been in low-risk countries,” Ardern added.
Those traveling from medium-risk countries will be required to self-isolate and/or undertake a shorter quarantine at a managed isolation facility (MIQ) for vaccinated travelers, while those traveling from high-risk countries or who are unvaccinated will have to quarantine for 14 days at an MIQ.
New Zealand, where vaccination rates are relatively low compared to other developed nations, is looking to accelerate its program by inoculating all those eligible with the Pfizer vaccine starting September.
The Oceanian country, which suspended its travel bubble with Australia in July due to an outbreak in the neighboring country and only allows quarantine-free trips to the Cook Islands, has recorded under 3,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 26 deaths. Currently, there are 43 active cases in the country among international arrivals in MIQ. EFE