New Zealand will start to open its borders later this month, allowing vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia to bypass managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) and self-isolate on return.
Australians are set to be allowed to enter the country by July, with the borders opening to the rest of the world fully in October.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the changes to the border policy this morning, explaining self-isolation will last 10 days.
All arrivals will also be given two rapid tests at the airport, One extra will be supplied “as back up”.
The changes are part of a five-phased plan “to reconnect New Zealand to the world”.
“Today I am announcing that fully vaccinated Kiwis and other currently eligible travellers from Australia will be able to travel to New Zealand from 11:59pm Sunday 27 February, and instead of going into MIQ, will be able to self-isolate,” Ms Ardern said.
“In Step 2, just two weeks later, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other currently eligible travellers from the rest of the world will also be able to travel into New Zealand without going through MIQ.
Step 3 will commence in April and will see non-citizens with visas, such as international students, skip MIQ.
“Step 4 sees the biggest expansion yet, and includes our Australian cousins and all other visitors and business travellers who can normally enter New Zealand without a visa. This stage is likely to begin when we have much larger case numbers than we have now,” Ms Ardern said.
“And finally, step 5 begins in October and includes all other visitors and students who require a visa to enter New Zealand, with normal visa processing resuming.”
New Zealand is battling a growing wave of Omicron cases.