New Zealand to delay border reopening due to Omicron concerns

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New Zealand announced has announced that has postponed plans to reopen its borders in order to prevent the spread of the new variant of the COVID-19 virus. 

The decision was announced on December 21, 2021.  

Speaking at a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, the country’s COVID-19 Response Minister, confirmed that the state will continue to enforce tight border restrictions until the end of February 2022.  

After easing some of the world’s most stringent pandemic measures, the New Zealand government had planned to begin a phased reopening of the international border from January 2022. New Zealand citizens would have been given the green light to travel to Australia from January 16, 2022. However, as the Omicron variant continues to spread with alarming speed across the globe, governments are becoming increasingly concerned with the need to enforce more stringent measures.  

 ”All of the evidence so far points to Omicron being the most transmissible COVID-19 variant yet. […] There’s no doubt this is disappointing and will upset many holiday plans, but it’s important to set these changes out clearly today so they can have time to consider those plans,” Chris Hipkins was quoted by Reuters. 

The New Zealand government will also temporarily extend the length of mandatory quarantine from seven to 10 days for travelers who aim to enter the country. 

Travelers are now required to take a pre-departure test 48 hours before crossing New Zealand’s border. 

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