EFESydney, Australia

New Zealand will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated travelers in a phased reopening starting in January 2022, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced Wednesday.

New Zealand nationals and residents coming from Australia can enter from Jan. 16, and from the rest of the world from Feb. 13 without having to go into a managed isolation quarantine (MIQ) facility, a statement from Hipkins said.

Foreign travelers will be able to enter from Apr. 30, "possibly staged by visa category."

"A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully managed. This reduces any potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system," Hipkins said.

New Zealand sealed its borders in March 2020 to keep out Covid-19 and has since carried out a strict and very limited return policy for citizens and residents, requiring time in MIQ on arrival.