Fortress NZ Looks to Open Borders to Vaccinated
New Zealand, one of the last countries successfully pursuing a zero-tolerance approach to the novel coronavirus, has said it could open its borders for quarantine-free travel early next year. But only the vaccinated need apply, Washington Post correspondent Australia-based New Zealander Rachel Pannett reports
The island nation sealed its borders about 1½ years ago and requires two-week stays in quarantine facilities for returning nationals. Only the odd American billionaire, some Pacific Islanders and residents of neighbouring Australia have made it into what has been called “Fortress New Zealand” in recent times, Pannett writes for the US newspaper.
Any loosening is likely to be conservative. Julia Albrecht, a tourism expert at the University of Otago, said she expects only a small number of “international visitors from selected countries in the first half of next year.”
Wellington has been under increasing pressure to restart travel to revive industries including foreign education and tourism, previously a mainstay of the economy. The prime minister Jacinda Ardern stopped short of giving a target for the percentage of people who would need to be vaccinated before the country opens up, acknowledging that it is hard to make predictions when the virus “continues to change and mutate”.
Original article by Rachel Pannett, The Washington Post, August 12, 2021.
Photo by Douglas Bagg.