New Zealand delays border re-opening plans

Speaking at a press conference, the country's COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said non-quarantine travel, which was to open for New Zealanders in Australia from January 16, would be pushed back until the end of February.

"We can accelerate the rollout of that booster program and have as many people boosted with their vaccination before we have people isolating at home across the international border," he added.

New Zealand also said the length of stay in state quarantine facilities would be increased from a week to 10 days.

The pre-departure test requirement to enter New Zealand was reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours before travel.

The South Pacific nation had just started easing some of the world's toughest pandemic measures and its international border restrictions were to progressively loosen from January, with all foreign tourists allowed into the country from April.

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