New Zealand adding vaccination requirement as it prepares to reopen its international borders – USA TODAY

Posted: October 7, 2021 at 3:35 pm

International travel: U.S. easing restrictions for vaccinated tourists

Foreign nationals will need to show proof of vaccination before getting on planes to the U.S.

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New Zealand will add a vaccine mandate for international travelers next month. But don't pack your bags for Auckland quite yet;the country doesn't plan to reopen its borders to most international traveluntil at least2022.

Starting Nov. 1, New Zealand will require non-citizens to be fully vaccinated before they can enter the country.Children under 17, New Zealand citizens and people who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons are exempt.

Initially, the new rule will apply only to a limited number of travelers.Travel has remainedseverely limited in the country since March 2020;those who aren't residents or citizensneededa critical purpose to enter.

Most travelers will still need to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival next month and show a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of their first international flight.

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New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement Sundaythat most visitors are already vaccinated, but the mandate aims to provide an extra layer of protection at the border.

Even a single case presents a risk, Hipkins said. However, high and wide-spread vaccination rates will mean more freedoms, fewer restrictions, and the day-to-day confidence that protection from the virus brings."

Air New Zealand also announcedthat starting in February 2022, all passengers must be fully vaccinated.

Mandating vaccination on our international flights will give both customers and employees the peace of mind that everyone onboard meets the same health requirements as they do, Air New Zealand's CEO Greg Foran said in a news release. "As with anything, there will be some that disagree. However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers and the wider New Zealand community.

Entry requirements are set to ease next yearas thecountryreopens its borders to "low risk" countries. The timing of the reopening is not clear, and New Zealand has yet to publish a list of countries it considers low-risk.

"Our ultimate goal is to get to quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated travelers," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this month.

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Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.

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New Zealand adding vaccination requirement as it prepares to reopen its international borders - USA TODAY

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