In a recent development, New Zealand citizens stuck in Australia have been further stopped from returning to the country and bypassing mandatory quarantine until the end of February 2022. Consequent to this decision taken by the country, Air New Zealand has cancelled about 120 flights from Australia which has resulted in over 27000 passengers not being able to fly to their native country. The decision has been taken keeping in mind the fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid-19.
New Guidelines As Omicron Spreads
According to the reports, New Zealand was going to bring ease in its border guidelines at least around mid-January in 2022. The original plan was to allow the fully vaccinated citizens of the country in Australia to return to their homes and be self-isolated rather than going into quarantine. New Zealand government had designed a special MIQ or Managed Isolated and Quarantine guideline for the citizens arriving in the territory. The rest of the New Zealand citizens who were stuck in other countries were going to be allowed back in the country from February and other non-Kiwi citizens who are fully vaccinated were going to be approved in the country by April of next year.
But it seems like the spread of the Omicron variant has resulted in the government rushing into this decision. A minister from New Zealand Government, Chris Hipkins said in a statement that the commencement of non-MIQ travel will be pushed back to until the end of February keeping in mind the global widespread of the Omicron variant. He added that the plan is disappointing but it is important to roll out these changes to be prepared for the future.
This decision means that only a small number of flights that were scheduled to New Zealand before the end of February are now in a frenzy. It is to be noted that the majority of the cancelled flights are trans-Tasman Australia – New Zealand sector, however, there will be a small number of long-haul flights that will witness the impacts of this decision as well. As of now, almost daily flights are active to/from Auckland and Sydney and Melbourne and some return flights from Brisbane.