• Wed. Nov 23rd, 2022

Here’s what you can expect from each pathway when border restrictions relax.

Aug 13, 2021

From early 2022, travellers to New Zealand are set to follow one of three pathways based on their vaccination status and the risk profile of the country or countries they have spent the past 14 days in.
Eventually, the Government would like all travellers fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free, while most of those unvaccinated will have to spend 14 days in managed isolation.
New Zealands ability to maintain its elimination strategy when the phased re-opening begins will be key to determining when this will happen.
Travellers pathway into New Zealand will depend on their vaccination status and the risk profile of the countries they have spent the past fortnight in.
The continued effectiveness of the vaccine and countries ability to manage particularly nasty strains of the virus, such as the Delta variant, will also play a role.
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In the meantime, heres what you can expect from each pathway when border restrictions relax.
Low-risk pathway
This is the route youll take if youre fully vaccinated and have spent the past 14 days in a country or countries deemed to present a low risk to New Zealand in terms of Covid-19.
Those arriving from overseas will have to complete a traveller health declaration process confirming their vaccination status.
The Government is yet to reveal how it will decide whether a country is low-, medium- or high-risk, but the factors to be taken into account include the number of cases of the virus, the prevalence of particularly concerning strains (such as delta), vaccination rates, and New Zealands confidence in their strategies for managing outbreaks.
Things could change rapidly, so countries will be reassessed on a regular basis although were yet to learn just how regularly.
Low-risk destinations are likely to include those with no active cases in the community, strong measures in place to deal with potential outbreaks, and a high vaccination rate. Right now, the Cook Islands and Niue are among the places that could fall into that category, although things could change.
Like those who have made use of New Zealands travel bubbles, vaccinated travellers arriving from a low-risk country or countries wont have to undergo any form of quarantine upon their return.
They will have to complete a traveller health declaration process before they enter New Zealand confirming that they have received both doses of the vaccine.
They will also need to return negative tests for Covid-19 likely one before departure and another upon arrival.
Medium-risk pathway
This will be you if you’re fully vaccinated and travelling from a country categorised as medium-risk. These are likely to include countries which have the virus under control, but present some cause for concern, such as a lower vaccination rate.
Those travelling from a medium-risk country will have to undergo some form of isolation upon arrival: Self-isolation, a shorter stay in managed isolation, or a combination of both. A trial this year will help determine how this would work.
Again, travellers will have to complete a health declaration confirming they are fully vaccinated before their arrival into New Zealand, and testing will be required.
PM Jacinda Ardern announces the new Covid roadmap to re-open New Zealand with the world.
High-risk pathway
Your route if youre unvaccinated or travelling from a country or countries deemed to be high-risk.
These are likely to include places grappling to contain the virus, where particularly dangerous strains are prevalent, and which do not have a strong track record of dealing with outbreaks. The UK, USA, India and Fiji are among the places that could currently fall into that category.
If youre returning from a high-risk destination, youll need to complete a 14-day stay in managed isolation. Youll also need to complete the traveller health declaration process and undergo testing.
Traveller beware
That’s the advice from the Prime Ministers office. There is always a chance the risk for a country category could change, and if that happens while a traveller is overseas it could change the requirements when they come back into New Zealand.
With Covid-19 the biggest threat to the countrys health and economy, New Zealand will reconnect gradually, changing our border settings to new groups when it is safe to do so, a spokesperson for the PMs office said.
We may need to adjust our settings for the three entry pathways from time to time to ensure that we continue to keep New Zealanders safe from Covid-19.