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NZ delays quarantine-free travel restart


The plan was that fully-vaccinated Kiwis in Australia would be able to return to New Zealand without having to undergo two weeks of quarantine from 17 January. That plan has changed.

 

Now, the country’s minister for COVID-19 response Chris Hipkins says this will now not happen until the end of February. 

 

 

“To slow the rapid spread we have seen overseas, we are pushing out the start of non-MIQ [managed isolation and quarantine] travel until the end of February 2022,” he said.

 

“There’s no doubt this is disappointing and will upset many holiday plans, but it’s important to set these changes out clearly today so they can have time to consider those plans.”

 

Not a New Zealand citizen? Aussies are officially expected to be able to travel to New Zealand without having to undergo quarantine in late April with other foreign nationals. But many were holding out hope that Aussies might have been able to enter with Kiwi citizens returning from countries other than Australia (expected to be in 14 February). 

 

Pushing back the first intake would likely push back the following ones. 

 

“COVID-19 keeps throwing new curve balls and we have to respond in a way that continues to protect lives and livelihoods without putting in place restrictions and lockdowns unless absolutely necessary,” Hipkins said. 

 

“Waiting till the end of February will increase New Zealand’s overall protection and slow Omicron’s eventual spread.”

 
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Published: 22 December 2021

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