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A silver fern, New Zealand’s floral emblem, greets passengers at Sydney Airport
A silver fern, New Zealand’s floral emblem, greets passengers at Sydney Airport © Loren Elliott/Reuters

New Zealand said on Wednesday it would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Australian residents from January 16 2022, allowing entry by citizens of both countries.

Arrivals will no longer need to spend 14 days in government-mandated quarantine, said Chris Hipkins, the minister overseeing New Zealand’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers from all other countries will be able to enter from February 13 2022. The measures will be extended to all fully vaccinated individuals from April 30 2022.

Hipkins said the “very high risk” classification for Indonesia, Fiji, India, Pakistan and Brazil would be removed in early December.

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“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. “We have a clear, simple and safe plan, including a mandatory period of self-isolation.”

He said the border would open in three phases. All travellers not required to go into quarantine would still require a negative pre-departure test, proof of being fully vaccinated, a passenger declaration about travel history, a test on arrival and would have to self-isolate for seven days.

The border would not be opened in time for the busy holiday period, Hipkins said. “Some people and businesses want us to start to open up before Christmas, and that’s understandable, but others want us to be more cautious,” he said.

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