New Zealand has imposed new COVID-19 travel restrictions on all air travellers who are not New Zealand citizens.
According to the new rules, all foreign nationals entering New Zealand should receive full vaccination from November 1.
“We are introducing the requirement for air travellers aged 17 and over, who are not New Zealand citizens, to receive their full vaccination to enter New Zealand,” Christ Hipkins, the minister for COVID-19 response, said.
Those arriving in New Zealand will still have to spend 14 days in quarantine, and all travelers — except those from exempt locations — will still need to show a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of their first scheduled international flight.
“Most people coming to New Zealand tell us they already received their vaccination. This requirement makes it formal and will provide an extra layer of protection at the border,” Hipkins said.
The announcement came as New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern placed a new region outside Auckland under a five-day lockdown, as the country’s COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak spreads.
New Zealand was widely praised for its COVID-19 response. It reported 26 deaths were since the pandemic outbreak in a population of five million.
The country has relied on strict border controls backed by hard lockdowns when any cases do slip through.
It has adopted rapid and strict lockdown measures in 2020 which effectively stopped the spread of the virus.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly referred to New Zealand as “our team of five million”.
But, Delta may force a rethink in the country’s pandemic strategy. New Zealand has one of the lowest number of fully vaccinated people among the OECD.