New Zealand travel: Vaccinated US tourists could visit this July – USA TODAY

The wait is almost over for tourists eager to visit New Zealand. 
The country, which has had some of the strictest COVID-19 measures around the world, will begin slowly reopening to travel this month but U.S. tourists will have to wait until July, according to a newly announced five-step plan.
The first group of eligible travelers, allowed to enter Feb. 27, will be fully vaccinated people from Australia who meet existing border qualifications. Those include New Zealand citizens, Australians with a primary home in New Zealand, and partners and dependent children of New Zealand residents, among others.
The eligibility pool widens further in March and April but remains largely limited to people like skilled workers, international students and family members of New Zealand residents.
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It’s not until sometime in July that fully vaccinated visitors from the United States and other non-visa countries will be welcomed back. Travelers from all countries will be able to enter in October. Specific dates have not been announced.
Fully vaccinated visitors will need to take a pre-departure test, self-isolate seven days upon arrival and take two post-arrival rapid antigen tests, which will be provided to them, several days apart.
 “These actions will lower the risk of COVID-19 entering the community while allowing more families to reunite, and will assist with the economic recovery and immediately address worker shortages,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a Tuesday statement. 
Hipkins added that officials will continue to review the self-isolation requirements, “with a view to reducing them over time.” 
Contributing: Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY

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