Wellington – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government is planning to shut the country’s borders to all tourists for the rest of the year in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and maintain the carefree lifestyle they’ve been enjoying these past few months.
New Zealand is possibly the only nation in the world that has eked out a pre-pandemic existence for its 5 million people through the strict observance of health protocols before it became “fashionable” and closing its borders to all international travellers early on.
Ardern said there is now a growing consensus among her ministers to keep New Zealand’s borders shut for the rest of 2021 until all citizens are properly vaccinated.
“Given the risks in the world around us and the uncertainty of the global rollout of a vaccine, we can expect our borders to be impacted for much of the year,” Ardern was quoted as saying.
Ardern said the only time these Spartan restrictions may be lifted is when all Kiwis are properly inoculated, and confirmation that vaccines prevent transmission of the virus.
She stressed that the world will have to attain some semblance of normalcy before she even considers the country’s doors to foreigners.
In the meantime, she said “travel bubbles” with Australia and some Pacific countries will continue, but the other countries out there simply pose too great a threat to the people and economy of the island nation.
New Zealand was one of the first countries to close its borders to international travellers in March 2020. The gamble paid off handsomely as it was able to return to “normal” day-to-day life including domestic travel – much unlike the outside world.