New Zealand Reopening to International Travelers Sooner Than Planned

New Zealand Reopening to International Travelers Sooner Than Planned

Aerial of the Mount Eden volcano in Auckland, New Zealand. (photo via superjoseph / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

New Zealand announced it would begin reopening to international travelers from visa waiver countries, including the United States, beginning May 1, 2022, without any quarantine measures.

Every traveler must present proof of full vaccination as well as a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter New Zealand beginning May 1.

Additionally, all travelers will be given two rapid antigen tests for free upon arrival to Auckland Airport for self-administration after leaving the airport. The first test will be done upon arrival, and the second is done on day five or six after arrival. Travelers who do test positive from either of these tests will be required to take a PCR test to confirm their result. If they are positive, they’ll be instructed to quarantine.

Quarantine entry requirements will still apply to unvaccinated New Zealand citizens and residents, who are the only unvaccinated individuals who can enter the country. The announcement did not mention the restart to cruise travel to the country, though Australia’s cruise ship ban ends April 17.

“We look forward to welcoming manuhiri [visitors], family and friends back in May,” said Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive, René de Monchy. “New Zealand has plenty to offer international visitors from breathtaking landscapes, rare and remarkable wildlife to our rich culture and heritage; our people and place are what make us unique, and we look forward to sharing this with the world again.”

In a prior statement, New Zealand’s government had anticipated a July reopening. Our World in Data reports that New Zealand’s population is 78 percent fully vaccinated, though the country has reported over 26,000 new cases just this week. The country has only reported 399,000 positive cases throughout the entire pandemic; the U.S. has reported 79.56 million.

Prior to the pandemic, travelers from the U.S. could reach New Zealand on non-stop flights from San Francisco, Houston, Chicago and Honolulu; these flights are expected to return this year.

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