However, social distancing is still encouraged, and Ardern said New Zealand’s international borders would remain closed to non-residents to prevent new outbreaks. Residents arriving in New Zealand will still have to quarantine for two weeks.
“This freedom from restrictions relies heavily on the ongoing role that border controls will play in preventing the virus … The virus will be in our world for some time to come,” Ardern told a news conference on Monday.
Schedule to block New Zealand
The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in New Zealand on February 28 – more than a month after the United States confirmed its first infection.
On March 14, when there were six cases in the country, Ardern announced that anyone entering the country would have to isolate themselves for two weeks, which at the time was among the toughest border restrictions in the world. Foreign nationals were barred from entering the country on March 20th.
Days later, on March 23 – with no deaths and 102 confirmed cases – Ardern announced that the country was entering a “third tier”. Minor enterprises have been closed, events and gatherings have been canceled, and schools have been closed to all children except those of the main workers.
Employers were told to allow work from home where possible, public transport was reserved for basic workers, and discretionary domestic air travel between regions was banned.
At midnight on March 25, New Zealand moved to the strictest level 4 blockade, with people being told not to leave their homes except for basic exercises near home, while maintaining social distancing.
On April 9, despite a drop in cases, Ardern tightened border restrictions so that all citizens and permanent residents arriving in New Zealand were required to spend two weeks in quarantine in an approved facility rather than at home.
Traveling bubble stations?
Both countries controlled mostly local outbreaks of coronavirus and have large tourism industries that have been hit hard by the widespread travel restrictions.
However, Ardern warned on Monday that such a corridor could still be several months away.
“I don’t want New Zealand companies or even kiwis that want to travel through the ditch to be subjected to a false start. I prefer to share deadlines when we have much more security,” she said.
“(Australia) is making progress from the state, but it’s not universal.”