“Given the risks in the world around us and the uncertainty of global vaccine rollouts, we can expect our borders to be affected for most of this year,” Ardern told a news conference.
To restart travel, authorities need confidence that those vaccinated are not transmitting Covid-19 to other people, who are not yet known, or that enough of the population needs vaccination so people can safely re-enter New Zealand.
But both possibilities will take time, he said.
“In the meantime, we will continue to pursue the travel bubble with Australia and the Pacific, but the rest of the world only poses too great a risk to our health and economy to take risks at this stage.”
A recent community case, in a woman who returned to New Zealand on December 30 and had tested positive for the South African strain after leaving mandatory two-week quarantine, prompted Australia to immediately suspend the travel bubble with New Zealand for 72 years. hour.
Ardern said drug regulator Medsafe was working to provide interim approval for the vaccines of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE.
The first vaccines will arrive in New Zealand at the end of the first quarter, but the government wants everything ready if they arrive early.
Tough lockdowns and geographic isolation are helping the country of 5 million people nearly eliminate the new coronavirus within its borders.
New Zealand reported 2 new cases of Covid-19 in a managed isolation facility on Tuesday and no new community cases. The country has 65 active cases, 1,934 confirmed cases overall, and 25 deaths.
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