Travel restrictions

Final lifting of COVID travel restrictions

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that New Zealand was now “open for business”, hours after the country completed the final stage of the gradual reopening of its borders.

Why is it important: New Zealand closed its border to most foreign visitors in March 2020 as COVID-19 spread and the government implemented some of the toughest pandemic measures in the world.

  • The return of all student and visitor visa applicants as well as permission to dock foreign cruise ships and pleasure yachts, starting one minute at midnight on Sunday, means the country’s borders are now fully reopened as it seeks to revive its pandemic-stricken tourism economy. .

By the numbers: Pre-pandemic tourism spending generated NZ$40.9 billion (US$25.7 million) and made a direct annual contribution to gross domestic product of NZ$16.4 billion, or 5, 5%.

What they say : “This 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,” he said. Ardern said in a speech at the China Business Summit. in Auckland on Monday.

The big picture: After Omicron arrived in New Zealand, the government last year moved away from a strategy of elimination to a strategy focused on vaccinations.

  • The number of infections has risen since then, although epidemiologists say the current surge appears to be “stabilizing”. The seven-day rolling average is 6,990, down from 8,498 cases the previous week, according to the health ministry.
  • On Monday, 1,502 people died from the virus in the country of 5 million people.

To note: New Zealand is now operating under a “traffic light” framework of pandemic measures. It is currently under the “orange” framework with no capacity restrictions on venues, although face masks are required to enter places like grocery stores unless people have exemptions.