New Zealand delays border reopening in bid to strengthen defences against Omicron
Border had been set to reopen to visitors and visa holders coming from Australia from 17 January
New Zealand has announced a suite of measures to strengthen its defence against the Omicron variant, including pushing back the start of its quarantine-free border reopening to the end of February.
The Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said the reopening delay will be disappointing for those who had made travel plans over summer, but added that waiting until the end of February would increase New Zealand’s overall protection and slow Omicron’s spread.
“Covid-19 keeps throwing new curve balls and we have to respond in a way that continues to protect lives and livelihoods without putting in place restrictions and lockdowns unless absolutely necessary,” Hipkins said.