New Zealand’s borders open fully after long pandemic shutdown

FILE PHOTO – People prepare to go fishing from Orakei wharf as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions are eased in Auckland, New Zealand November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Fiona Goodall

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WELLINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – New Zealand’s borders were fully reopened to visitors from around the world on Monday, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in March 2020.

New Zealand’s borders began to reopen on February 1 for New Zealanders and restrictions have gradually eased.

The border reopening process was completed last night with visitors who need visas and those on student visas now also allowed to return to New Zealand. New Zealand now also allows foreign cruise ships and pleasure yachts to dock in its ports.

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Most visitors arriving in New Zealand still need to be vaccinated against COVID and must take two COVID tests after arrival. However, there are no quarantine requirements.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during a speech at the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday that the final opening of borders was a huge moment.

“It has been a step-by-step and careful process on our part since February as we, alongside the rest of the world, continue to manage a very lively global pandemic, while keeping our people safe.”

International students have made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s economy and education providers are hoping the reopening of borders will once again give schools and universities a boost in the country.

New Zealand Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the return of cruise ships would also be a boost for local industries.

“Most cruise visits take place in the warmer months of October through April, and summer is our overall peak tourist season. That means it will be full steam ahead for the industry,” said said Nash.

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Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Sandra Maler and Michael Perry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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