New Zealand expands Pacific quarantine-free travel

One-way quarantine-free travel to New Zealand will be extended to include Nauru, Tuvalu and American Samoa, a senior official said on Friday.

From 11.59 p.m. on February 27, eligible travellers from Nauru, Tuvalu and American Samoa will be able to enter New Zealand without entering managed isolation and quarantine facilities or self-isolation on arrival, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Aupito William Sio said in a statement, adding that this is in recognition that these countries have no Covid-19 community cases.

“Initially travel will be open to people who have a right to reside in New Zealand and those covered by border exceptions. There will be no pre-departure test required, but non-New Zealand citizens must be vaccinated,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying.

If travellers transit another quarantine-free travel country (like Samoa or Vanuatu) they will still enter New Zealand with no isolation or quarantine required.

If travellers transit a non-quarantine-free travel country (like Australia or Fiji), they will be subject to the same entry and testing requirements as other travelers from that country, he said.

The New Zealand government has announced its plan for the staged opening of the borders, which will make it easier for many more people to reconnect and travel to New Zealand from other parts of the world, Sio said.

Opening up to travellers from parts of the Pacific where Covid-19 risks are low is part of this plan.

New Zealand currently has quarantine-free travel for travellers coming to New Zealand from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau and Vanuatu.

“Extending this to Nauru, Tuvalu and American Samoa is an important step in further reconnecting with our Pacific whanau (communities), bringing significant social and economic benefits and reflecting the importance of links across the region,” he said.

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