WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand will reopen its borders to the world over the coming months, the government announced Wednesday, allowing for the return of displaced residents from January and tourists from April, AP reported.
The South Pacific nation imposed harsh border restrictions when the pandemic began, effectively banning tourists and requiring returning residents to spend two weeks in a quarantine hotel run by the military.
At times, demand for quarantine beds has far outstripped supply, causing some displaced residents to wait months for available slots.
For the first 18 months of the pandemic, the border measures were considered vital in keeping New Zealand free from the virus.
But an August outbreak proved impossible to stamp out, prompting New Zealand to abandon its elimination strategy in October. Vaccination rates have also been rising, making the border measures increasingly hard to justify.