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New Zealand’s phased border reopening postponed


New Zealand’s phased border reopening postponed

Photo: Loren Elliott/Reuters

The initial stage of New Zealand’s phased border reopening—originally scheduled to begin today—has been postponed.

The first phase, which would have seen non-quarantine travel opened to New Zealanders currently in Australia, will now begin at the end of February instead. Additionally, the mandated quarantine period upon entering the country has been increased from a week to ten days.

While the move has disappointed many New Zealanders who had hoped to begin travelling more freely to and from Australia, it is not unexpected given the stringency of previous anti-COVID measures employed throughout the pandemic. While strict, these regulations prevented any major outbreaks, helping preserve New Zealand’s economy from the brunt of the severe financial shocks which gripped the rest of the world.

As such, expect this delay to have little effect on New Zealand’s economy. Air New Zealand will likely face the bulk of these consequences as they operate the majority of New Zealand-Australia flights, likely losing a significant portion of their revenue for the next six weeks. While Australia had also hoped that increased travel to New Zealand would help revive its tourism industry, Canberra is supportive of the move in the face of rising Omicron variant infections.

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