Overseas New Zealanders trying to return home are facing a queue tens of thousands of people long, as the country reopens bookings to cross the border.
The country’s borders have been strictly controlled since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic – only citizens, permanent residents and a handful of essential workers can enter, and all of them must make a booking to spend two weeks in government-controlled quarantine (MIQ).
Demand for those spaces has vastly outpaced demand, with some hopeful returnees spending weeks refreshing the site, employing “MIQ assistants” or using bots to assist them secure a space:
US to lift Covid travel ban for vaccinated passengers from UK and most of EU
The US will lift Covid-19 travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and most European Union (EU) countries to travel into the country from early November, the White House has announced.
The move signals the end of a travel ban imposed by Donald Trump more than 18 months ago in the early stages of the pandemic, and comes after intense lobbying from Brussels and London.
In addition to the UK and the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, the easing of restrictions will also apply to Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India.
It was welcomed by Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, who tweeted: “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”
British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said the US announcement “marks a historic moment and one which will provide a huge boost to global Britain as it emerges from this pandemic”.
Shares in US airlines were little changed, while some European carriers gained. British Airways parent IAG SA rose 11.2%, while Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG closed up more than 5%: