March 1, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier
New Zealand’s government has announced it will abolish the seven-day self-isolation requirement for New Zealanders returning from Australia and eligible visa holders entering New Zealand from Australia from midnight tomorrow night.
As the country reports record cases numbers, the date allowing New Zealanders and other eligible visa holders travelling from anywhere else in the world to enter the country without entering hotel quarantine – and now without isolating at all – has also been brought forward to this Friday.
Peak body Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) has welcomed the government’s move, with BEIA Chief Executive Lisa Hopkins says this decision signals a strong intent for other travellers.
“This is a great start in reconnecting New Zealand with the world. We are encouraged by the Prime Minister saying a decision could be made by mid-March on opening up to all travellers,” she says.
“However, for the past two years, our industry has felt like it has been in a permanent lockdown. We have a significant number of business events in a holding pattern because of current international border settings and, as a consequence, many New Zealanders here at home are still unsure of their future.
“Our message to the Prime Minister is that while today is the first step in delivering hope back to many in the visitor economy, we now look forward to timely decisions on the next steps of the plan to ensure the industry can begin its own recovery from COVID,” says Hopkins.
Under New Zealand’s reopening plan, announced in February, the seven-day self-isolation requirement for all international arrivals was left in place indefinitely, effectively closing the country to business events visitors.
Yesterday’s announcement comes amid soaring COVID-19 case numbers after Omicron entered the community in January. Today New Zealand recorded over 19,500 new cases and now has more active cases than New South Wales, which has a larger population.