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Fully vaccinated tourists will hopefully be allowed into New Zealand sooner than expected, with tourists arriving from Australia from 11.59 pm on April 12 without the need to manage or self-isolate.
April 12 is the same date that has already been set for the return of international students and temporary visa holders.
The Herald considers visitors from other countries with which New Zealand has visa waiver arrangements (such as the United Kingdom) will be able to arrive within a few weeks, followed by visitors from all other countries.
Originally, travelers from Australia and visa-exempt countries were to be allowed into the MIQ-free country before July, but no specific date was set. Tourists coming from the rest of the world were to be allowed inside from October.
Sources told the Herald on Tuesday that these dates will be officially brought forward by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today.
Airlines and tourism groups have been worried more and more time tourism and hospitality businesses will suffer irreparable damage, especially if self-isolation requirements remain in place.
However, as the Omicron outbreak sharply outpaced the infection rate of new arrivals, the government dropped the self-isolation requirements for returning New Zealanders and impacted those in its decision on when to open further. is considering.
On Tuesday, 17 cases were reported at the border, which had almost quadrupled despite a slight increase from before the change in MIQ at the end of February.
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of community cases is 19,226.
Ardern said yesterday that as Omicron’s peak approached, the risk profile of new arrivals had changed further and the government was considering moving those dates forward.
“We have come out of the pinnacle of Omicron, when experts have said it will be possible to reopen borders more comprehensively.”
She said they were working as quickly as possible to give certainty to the tourism industry and to factor in peak demand.
Asked if he needed to be more cautious around Ommicron’s more infectious BA.2 subvariant, Ardern said it would have little effect because it was already highly prevalent here.
It comes as 21,616 new community cases of Covid-19 were reported on Tuesday, with the numbers in Auckland continuing to be on a downward trend.
Two Covid-related deaths were reported and there were 960 people in hospital, including 22 in intensive care, with the virus.
The total number of publicly reported Covid-19 related deaths now stands at 117.
The latest figures show that people who have not been vaccinated are over five times over-represented in hospitalization figures.
Meanwhile, the tourism industry is gearing up to reopen, with Tourism New Zealand launching a new advertising campaign.
Working holiday visa holders and some skilled workers can now enter New Zealand without any self-isolation requirements.
Ann-Marie Johnson, spokeswoman for the tourism industry Aotearoa, said they would provide a welcome boost to the industry.
“Tourism was the first industry to be affected by the pandemic and will be the last to recover.
“We are pleased that the government has indicated that our borders are likely to open to international visitors as soon as possible and we look forward to seeing the new timeline that is expected to be imminent.”
Johnson said a timely reopening to Australian visitors for the duration of their April school holiday which includes Easter would be ideal.