New Zealand to start easing COVID-19 border restrictions – .

New Zealand to start easing COVID-19 border restrictions – .

People run past a social distancing sign on the first day of New Zealand’s novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety measure that requires masks to be worn on public transport in Auckland, New Zealand -Zeeland, August 31, 2020. REUTERS / Fiona Goodall

WELLINGTON, Oct.28 (Reuters) – New Zealand said on Thursday it would ease coronavirus border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020 and move to a home isolation system for overseas arrivals fully vaccinated from the beginning of next year.

The country was one of the first to close its borders in response to the pandemic last year and has kept these strict border restrictions, leaving many citizens and expatriate residents stranded for months.

The government said fully vaccinated overseas travelers would only spend seven days in state quarantine facilities from November 14, half of the current requirement.

Home isolation will also be introduced in the first quarter of 2022, New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference.

“We are very aware of the pressure that is mounting at the borders as the world begins to reconnect,” Hipkins said at the press conference.

One-way travel without quarantine will be open to smaller Pacific countries like Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu from November 8, he said.

Once a poster for the eradication of COVID-19, New Zealand has been unable to reverse Delta’s current outbreak, forcing it to abandon an elimination strategy and move on to life with it the virus.

Still, it is doing much better than many comparable countries, as severe restrictions have kept COVID-19 cases down to around 5,900 total cases and just 28 deaths.

But travel restrictions angered many, with the latest to join the choir being Olympic sailing gold medalist and five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts.

He said full stadiums at events such as the English Premier League and European Football Champions League, as well as the Ryder Cup golf tournament, was proof that people abroad are living with COVID -19.

“While some people, perhaps many, rightly remain cautious, life has largely returned to normal in many places. But that’s not what we’re being told here in New Zealand, ”Coutts said in a Facebook post.

“The erosion of our freedom of choice, freedom of speech and the loss of precious time with family and friends and all the other negative aspects of a foreclosure must be weighed against the risk to health COVID, ”he added.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said last week that New Zealand would end its strict lockdown measures when 90% of its eligible population is fully vaccinated. About 72% of eligible people have been fully vaccinated so far, while almost 87% have received a first dose.

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Richard Pullin and Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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