New Zealand to reopen borders in January

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Wellington: New Zealand will reopen its borders to the world in January, the government announced on Wednesday. It will allow the return of displaced residents in January and tourists in April.

The South Pacific nation imposed harsh border restrictions when the pandemic broke out, effectively banning tourists and requiring returning residents to spend two weeks in a quarantine hotel run by the military.

At times, demand for quarantine beds has far outstripped supply, causing some displaced residents to wait months for available slots.

For the first 18 months of the pandemic, the border measures were considered vital in keeping New Zealand free from the virus.

But an August outbreak proved impossible to stamp out, prompting New Zealand to abandon its elimination strategy in October.

New Zealand is also removing a very-high-risk designation from certain countries, including Indonesia, India and Brazil, allowing people from those countries to return or visit. 

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