New Zealand says its borders may remain closed through 2021
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New Zealand’s borders are likely to remain closed until the end of 2021.
In a press conference in Wellington on Tuesday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the borders will be “impacted for much of this year.”
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Ardern is reportedly taking a cautious approach both to reopening New Zealand and rolling out its mass immunization programs. The vaccine rollout will have a direct effect on the timeline for opening up the country’s borders and restarting foreign tourism.
“We either need the confidence that being vaccinated means you don’t pass COVID-19 on to others — and we don’t know that yet — or we need enough of our population to be vaccinated and protected that people can safely re-enter New Zealand,” Ardern said. “Both possibilities will take some time”.
Following the press conference, Ardern took to her Instagram to explain the country’s vaccine rollout program.
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Ardern took the decision to close her country’s borders in March 2020. The country has since been praised by the WHO for its handling of the pandemic.
New Zealand has seen one case of community spread in months and two cases at its managed isolation facilities. Widespread test and trace efforts are being carried out in the Northland area where the single case of community spread was discovered. The situation has been deemed to be under control.
While travel remains off the cards to most of the world, New Zealand will continue to pursue the trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia as well some island nations in the Pacific.
While the country’s economy escaped significant damage, its travel and tourism industry is suffering.
With the announcement to most likely keep its borders closed this year, New Zealand will be joining its neighbor Australia, which said last week that its borders will also be remaining closed for much of 2021.
Featured image by James D Morgan/Getty Images
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