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WELLINGTON : New Zealand’s border closure, in place since March last year, will gradually be eased from mid-January for travelers who are vaccinated against Covid-19, the government said Wednesday.

The first step will be to allow vaccinated New Zealand citizens traveling from Australia to enter without undergoing the current mandatory two-week quarantine, a statement said.

The easing of restrictions will be broadened from mid-February to include New Zealand citizens and eligible visa holders traveling from other countries and then to foreign nationals from the end of April.

A government statement said the end of heavily restricted travel, brought on by the pandemic, is now in sight. However, travelers would be required to test negative for Covid-19 before departure, on arrival and before entering the community after seven days of isolation at home.

New Zealand, which has been battling a monthslong outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta variant, has linked reopening within the country to a 90% vaccination rate. About 84% of the eligible population was vaccinated as of Wednesday.

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