New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to reveal long-awaited plans for reopening the country’s borders tomorrow.
Ahead of the announcement, an expert governmental advisory panel has recommended that the country can reopen slowly once its vaccination programme is complete, without the need for mandatory hotel quarantine. The group suggested that inbound travellers should be assessed on their vaccination status, the nature of the pandemic in their home country and be subject to pre-departure and rapid tests on arrival.
The head of the group, epidemiologist Sir David Skegg, stated that the country could continue to pursue its Covid elimination strategy once travel restarted, but should begin preparing measures such as airport testing and increased contact tracing.
New Zealand has some of the strictest border controls in the world and has only recorded 26 deaths throughout the pandemic. Its vaccination effort, however, has been fairly sluggish, with only 21 per cent of the population fully jabbed.
Last month the government suspended its travel bubble with Australia over the rising cases of the delta variant in its neighbouring country.
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