COVID-19: Government drops managed isolation and quarantine, self-isolation requirements for unvaccinated Kiwi travellers

The Government has quietly announced it has dropped managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) and self-isolation requirements for unvaccinated Kiwi travellers. 

Previously, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said only Kiwis fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could skip MIQ - with the unvaccinated having to spend seven days in hotel quarantine and three days self-isolating at home. 

The scrapping of MIQ and self-isolation requirements was announced in a statement, which was published online and came into effect on Friday night at 11:59pm. 

"This also means that those eligible unvaccinated arrivals who entered MIQ prior to 11:59pm on Friday, March 18 will be released from MIQ," the statement said.

Vaccination requirements still apply to non-New Zealand citizens, including permanent residents, unless they have an exemption.

"Travellers entering New Zealand will still be required to undertake rapid antigen tests on days 0/1 and 5/6 and report the results. If a traveller tests positive, they will need to undertake a PCR test, and isolate in accordance with the requirements for positive COVID-19 cases," the statement said.

"Managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) will be used in limited circumstances, by some refugees, arrivals from Afghanistan, maritime crew and some international aircrew."

It comes after Ardern announced on Wednesday the international border will reopen to vaccinated Australians from April 12 and vaccinated visa waiver tourists from May 1 - with two COVID-19 tests will be required during their trip. 

Ardern said unvaccinated travellers will eventually be welcomed to New Zealand but "we haven't made those decisions".

New Zealand recorded 18,514 COVID community cases on Saturday with 939 people in hospital, 24 in ICU. Ten COVID-related deaths were also recorded.