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New Zealand opens borders with tears, hugs


Monday's border reopening is the first stage of New Zealand's five-step reconnecting plan, which allows fully vaccinated Kiwis and other current eligible travellers from Australia to enter the country without the need for managed isolation.

New Zealand officially opened its borders on Monday, lifting the COVID-19 border restrictions after two years.

Monday's border reopening was the first stage of New Zealand's five-step reconnecting plan, which allowed fully vaccinated Kiwis and other current eligible travellers from Australia to enter the country without the need for managed isolation.

According to Auckland International Airport, four Air New Zealand flights and one Qantas flight arrived from Australia's Melbourne, Sydney and Perth on Monday, with more than 900 passengers arriving.

More than 300 flights will be available between New Zealand and major Australian cities in March alone, said an Auckland airport spokesperson.

The airport's arrival terminal was full of tears and hugs. Families who have not seen each other for over two years reunited on Monday.

People arrive at International Arrivals of Auckland Airport, New Zealand on Feb. 28, 2022. (Photo by Zhao Gang/Xinhua)

John Davis, a New Zealander returning from Australia, told local media that all he wants to do was to spend time with his family, including his granddaughter who was three years older than last time he saw her.

Under New Zealand's requirements, all passengers are required to have a negative pre-departure test, and undertake two rapid antigen tests on arrival and at day 5/6.

People hug upon their reunion at International Arrivals of Auckland Airport, New Zealand on Feb. 28, 2022. (Photo by Zhao Gang/Xinhua)

Meanwhile, the government is removing the self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travelers to New Zealand and Kiwis returning from the rest of the world from Thursday.

"That means all Kiwis coming home and tourists entering the country will be able to step off the plane and immediately connect with family and friends and enjoy all New Zealand has to offer," said COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

Travelers will still be required to be tested. If anyone returns a positive result, they will be required to report it and isolate for the same period of 10 days as a community case, Hipkins said.

People hug upon their reunion at International Arrivals of Auckland Airport, New Zealand on Feb. 28, 2022. (Photo by Zhao Gang/Xinhua)

Published : March 01, 2022

By : Xinhua