All eligible international travelers arriving in New Zealand will have to be fully vaccinated from November 1, announced the COVID-19 Response Minister on Sunday.
Entering New Zealand wasn’t easy for non-nationals and the new mandate has made it a bit more complicated.
Starting Nov.1, travelers will not only need to book their hotel-quarantine site at the Managed Isolation Allocation System but also declare their vaccination status at the same place.
Once in the country, all visitors must spend 14 days in isolation regardless of their vaccination and COVID-19 test status.
“To further reduce the possibility of the virus getting through our border, we are introducing the requirement for air travelers aged 17 and over, who are not New Zealand citizens, to be fully vaccinated to enter New Zealand,” said the minister in a statement.
“This requirement will be an interim measure while development continues on the traveler health declaration system, which will introduce the ability to digitally verify the vaccination status of people arriving into New Zealand,” also reads the statement.
Guidance is yet to be prepared on what will qualify as evidence of vaccination. So far, the government has confirmed it will request visitors to have received a full course of any of New Zealand’s approved vaccines, said COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group.
The Recognized Seasonal Employees (RSE) coming to NZ as part of the one-way QFT arrangement with Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu are exempt from the new vaccination rule, as well as refugees.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, one of the last men standing on the “Zero-COVID” strategy, confirmed Monday that the country will no longer pursue this approach to the pandemic.
The drastic shift in the policy came as the country registered another 29 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.
Most of the new locally transmitted infections have been registered in Auckland, which has been in lockdown for nearly 2 months.
Additionally, the most recent installment of Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Rankings shows how Zealand slipped in the global ranking from number 1 in November 2020 to number 38 in September 2021.
“No 1 at the ranking’s inception last November, New Zealand fell nine spots from August to No 38,” reads the report.