New Zealand will welcome vaccinated tourists in early 2022, reopening to visitors for what will be the first time in almost two years.
From January, border restrictions will ease to allow fully vaccinated citizens from Australia to return to New Zealand. The following month, citizens from the rest of the world will be able to return.
In April, tourists will once again be able to travel to New Zealand, so long as they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. A long list of vaccinations are accepted, including Sinopharm, which was widely used in the UAE.
New Zealand's Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said that all inoculated individuals would be able to travel to the country from Saturday, April 30.
Immunised citizens living in Australia can re-enter from Monday, January 17, with no managed isolation required.
Foreign visitors can enter from Monday, February 14.
Travellers will have to undergo a mandatory seven-day period of self-isolation upon arrival. A negative Covid-19 test result will also be needed to enter the country, and there will be testing on arrival, and a follow-up test during the home quarantine period, before travellers can venture into the community.
“Closing our border was one of the first steps we took to keep our country safe from Covid-19 and it’ll be the last thing we open up,” Hipkins said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a snap border closure in March 2020, in the very early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government introduced a strict managed quarantine system which has seen several citizens unable to return home since the onset of the global pandemic.
Further details for how the home isolation period will work for travellers will be revealed in December.
Air New Zealand, the country's national airline, had already announced that it would only accept fully vaccinated passengers for travel.
The news comes after New Zealand introduced a new traffic-light alert system to manage Covid-19 in the country. The system classifies areas as green, orange or red with increasingly strict controls for each category. It comes into place on Friday, December 3.