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Coronavirus

New Zealand to Slightly Ease Its Strict Coronavirus Border Controls

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s government plans to slightly ease its strict coronavirus border controls to allow migrant workers from the Pacific to harvest crops and wine grapes.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday it plans to allow some workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu to enter without them going through the usual requirement to spend two weeks in quarantine.

Ardern said details of the plan are still being worked through and she can’t yet say how many workers might be eligible.

She added that the number of such workers currently in New Zealand was about 3,000 short of the 10,000 typically needed for the harvest.

There are no current outbreaks in Samoa, Tonga or Vanuatu, which have reported a total of just seven COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

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