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March 2, 2022

New Zealand is fast tracking the reopening of its international border as the country’s Omicron surge invalidates any need to curb overseas visitation.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that fully vaccinated New Zealanders and eligible visa holders entering from Australia no longer need to self-isolate upon their arrival. They will still be required to undergo a Covid-19 test on arrival and on day five or six and self-isolate if positive.

“Cabinet has agreed to lift all self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers entering New Zealand,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.

“That means that all Kiwis coming home and tourists entering the country will be able to step off the plane and immediately connect with family and friends and enjoy all New Zealand has to offer.”

The news has been welcomed by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), saying it was a “great start in reconnecting New Zealand with the world”.

“We are encouraged by the Prime Minister saying a decision could be made by mid-March on opening up to all travellers,” said BEIA chief executive Lisa Hopkins.

“However, for the past two years, our industry has felt like it has been in a permanent lockdown. We have a significant number of business events in a holding pattern because of current international border settings and, as a consequence, many New Zealanders here at home are still unsure of their future.

“Our message to the Prime Minister is that while today is the first step in delivering hope back to many in the visitor economy, we now look forward to timely decisions on the next steps of the plan to ensure the industry can begin its own recovery from Covid.”