Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will consider the new travel bubbles as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said her government will explore more travel “bubbles” and lead trade delegations later this year to reconnect with a post-pandemic world.
With most of New Zealand’s essential workers vaccinated against COVID-19 and inoculation for the wider population that would begin in July, Ardern said Thursday that his government was ready to rebuild contact with the rest of the world.
Ardern’s plan for a partial and phased reopening comes after more than a year of a hard border closure, which has helped New Zealand, a five-million-nation Pacific nation, eliminate the coronavirus within its borders.
The first step in reopening New Zealand was a “travel bubble”With Australia, which started last month.
Ardern said his government will also allow him to travel without quarantine with the Cook Islands in the South Pacific on Monday.
“At this stage, where vaccine deployment in New Zealand is incomplete, the number of countries to which we can safely open is limited,” the prime minister said in a pre-budget speech in Auckland.
“This is because they need to have the same status as us or they have the same low risk of bringing COVID into the country.
“Niue is the next natural addition. Beyond that, we have a relatively open mindset and I anticipate that there will be other countries with which to explore opportunities, ”he said.
More than 70,000 people have landed in New Zealand from Australia since the travel bubble opened last month and more than 57,000 have traveled in the other direction, Ardern said.
However, he noted that the deployment of vaccines in New Zealand was incomplete and that the number of countries it could safely open was limited.
The government intends to administer more than one million doses of COVID-19 in June, Ardern said, and expand the inoculation program to all New Zealanders over the age of 16 in July.
The Prime Minister also said that she will lead a trade and promotional delegation in Australia in early July, the first since the advent of COVID-19 and will also try to lead delegations in Europe, the United States, China and Asia. -Pacific.
“These trips may not have been excessive prior to COVID prevention, but they are hugely significant in light of the national realities we have experienced and the global ones that still persist,” Ardern said.