New Zealand's borders will remain closed over the next five months as the country takes precautions to fight the coronavirus, with officials planning to allow some international travelers to enter the nation in April.
Government officials reportedly made the announcement on Wednesday during a news conference.
"A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully managed," New Zealand's COVID-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, said, according to Reuters. "This reduces any potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system."
Under the new strategy, New Zealand will begin allowing fully vaccinated international travelers to enter the country beginning on April 30, the news service noted, adding that those travelers will be made to quarantine for seven days after they arrive.
Vaccinated residents and those with visas who are located in Australia will reportedly be allowed to travel into New Zealand as soon as Jan. 16. Other vaccinated New Zealanders and visa holders who are residing in other countries will be allowed to enter the country as soon as Feb. 13.
The country will no longer provide state quarantine facilities, but instead will require self-isolating, proof of full vaccination, a negative pre-departure test and a COVID-19 test as international travelers arrive into New Zealand, Reuters added.
New Zealand has had some of the strictest pandemic measures in place and has reported about 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 40 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the news service.
— Updated at 9:32 a.m.