New Zealand to begin easing Covid-19 border restrictions

New Zealand officials will gradually loosen border quarantine requirements that have been among the toughest in the world throughout the pandemic, Reuters reports.

But while the changes will make it easier for New Zealanders stranded abroad to return home, officials gave no date for when tourists might be welcomed back.

Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said that from next month, most people arriving in New Zealand would need to spend seven days in a quarantine hotel run by the military, half the previous requirement.

He said some new arrivals from low-risk Pacific island countries could skip quarantine altogether and isolate at home.

The new rules are an interim step ahead of broader reopening measures that would be gradually introduced once more than 90 per cent of New Zealanders aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated.

So far, 72 per cent of eligible people have had both doses of a vaccine.

The change follows a growing outcry from New Zealanders who have been trying to return home but have been unable to secure spots in the quarantine system, and some have resorted to legal action.


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