New Zealand ends isolation requirement for arriving travelers

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New Zealand will no longer require incoming travelers to quarantine as the country pulls back on some of its strict COVID-19 policies. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that vaccinated travelers would no longer be required to isolate themselves for a week upon arriving in New Zealand starting on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. 

Travelers will still be required to receive a negative test before leaving and after arriving, and the policy prohibiting non-New Zealander tourists from visiting will remain in place, the AP noted. 

International tourism has been quashed by the pandemic and once accounted for about 20 percent of New Zealand’s foreign income.

Borders are currently set to reopen to international travelers from Australia in July and to the rest of the world in October, but Ardern said on Monday that her Cabinet would consider moving that timeline up, according to the wire service. 

“I know this will be welcome news to the members of our team overseas, eager to travel home to see loved ones as soon as possible,” Ardern said. “We can’t wait to see you.”

Since the start of the pandemic, New Zealand has had some of the most strict border control policies, but now those policies are seen as out of touch with the rest of the world. 

Recently, New Zealand has reported roughly 15,000 COVID-19 cases each day, an increase from 2,000 10 days ago as the country sees an uptick in infections fueled by the omicron variant, the AP added.

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