New Zealand had introduced some of the world's toughest restrictions to counter coronavirus. In view of an improvement in the situation, the country has drawn up plans to reopen its borders. However, it would be in a phased manner. There are many New Zealanders living in Australia. Those who are vaccinated can make their way back home. There is no need for them to remain in hotel quarantine. Vaccinated individuals from other countries would also be able to enter but from a later date. These are as per the announcement of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Isolation would still be there and they have to self-isolate for 10 days. They can do so at home.

The announcement follows criticism of the closed-border policy to prevent entry of the virus. New Zealand had kept its borders closed for nearly two years due to the nature of the pandemic. Doctors advised people to avoid direct contact with strangers, maintain personal hygiene, keep away from crowded places etcetera. The strict stance of New Zealand paid dividends. It helped it to keep its infection and deaths rates low in comparison to other countries. The policy was popular in the domestic circuit but not for New Zealanders overseas.

Citizens of New Zealand who live overseas felt frustrated

Plenty of New Zealanders who live in other countries felt frustrated.

As one of them who lives in Singapore told the BBC: “We have missed a lot of big life events such as weddings and funerals but more than anything just miss seeing family and friends." Coronavirus is a highly contagious disease and it has left a trail of death all over the world. It shattered the lives of millions and every country tried its best to arrest its spread.

New Zealand was no exception. The BBC goes on to add about the fate of some stranded New Zealanders. One was of a pregnant reporter based in Afghanistan. She wanted to return home but the authorities rejected her request. She had no other alternative but to turn to the Taliban for their support so that she could give birth to her baby in Afghanistan.

It will be a five stage reopening for New Zealand

During a talk in Auckland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained that the reopening would be in a phased manner. That will help to balance the inflow of those who arrive with the availability of the healthcare system. That way people would be able to reunite and overcome the shortage of the workforce. She said life was there before the virus, it would remain even afterwards. In her words: "We are well on our way to reaching that destination. But we are not quite there yet.”

Reopening of New Zealand means relief for those who struggled to get home

The tough border rules of New Zealand have separated families and shut out almost all foreigners.

However, things are set to change with the five-step plan outlined by the Prime Minister. This decision is a major shift for the country that had imposed strict border rules in order to ensure safety for its people from coronavirus. As a result, many New Zealanders struggled to get home. Nearly one million New Zealanders live overseas and many of them have been separated from their loved ones for years. In October, the Prime Minister had mentioned that the country would begin to replace the zero-Covid strategy with a new one of living with the virus. Subsequently, New Zealand did announce about a gradual easing of borders in 2022, but the emergence of the Omicron variant posed a hurdle. Incidentally, the move of New Zealand comes in the wake of similar steps taken by its neighbor Australia.