New Zealand will abolish self-isolation requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from March 2, a government official announced on Monday.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement that the decision is based on advice from the coronavirus advisory group and the director general of health.
“Cabinet has agreed to lift all self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travelers entering New Zealand from 11:59 p.m., Wednesday 2 March. 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,” Hipkins said.
The travelers will, however, be required to have a pre-departure negative PCR test and two rapid antigen tests on arrival.
“Now that we are two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk has shifted from our border to our community. As the pandemic evolves, we are too. Getting tested is now quicker and easier, requirements for isolation have been simplified to those who share a household, and care in the community is focused towards those most in need of support.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand will also open its borders to allow nationals to return home on March 4.
“We are able to take these decisions because we have a highly vaccinated population and good public health restrictions through the COVID-19 Protection Framework in place,” Hipkins said.
New Zealand’s earlier plan to reopen its borders in mid-January was shelved due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus across the world.
In the past 24 hours, 14,633 new infections have been reported in the country, bringing the total caseload to 100,821, according to the Health Ministry.
While the country has fully vaccinated 94% of its eligible population – those aged 12 and up, approximately 70% have received a booster shot.