Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced the full reopening of international borders, commencing on 1 July 2022.
Cabinet has approved the reopening of borders, following recommendations from the Border Opening Committee of the COVID-19 Oversight Committee.
This move comes after the eventual easing of COVID-19 restrictions from last month, which means domestic restrictions will be lifted by the end of May 2022.
This will see the lifting of restrictions on domestic shipping and travel through domestic ships and aircraft, lifting restrictions on mass gatherings such as churches, weddings, sporting activities, nightclubs and lifting restrictions on international cargo vessels.
In relation to incoming international travellers, the post arrival quarantine period for all international travellers will drop to 6 days from 1st June 2022 at the latest.
This easing of restrictions simply means that from 1 July 2022 foreign nationals wishing to enter the country no longer have to apply for exemption through the oversight committee starting from this date.
However, all pre-arrival health requirements will be strictly applied to ensure we can still protect the country as much as possible from possible new variants of COVID-19 that may inadvertently enter the country.
This means all incoming travellers must have a negative PCR test within 72 hours before arrival, in addition to a negative RAT test within 12 hours of arrival. Only people that have completed their vaccinations will be allowed to enter the country from overseas, except for children that cannot be vaccinated.
Sogavare further announced that it is likely that “we might still retain a shorter quarantine period of 3-days after the full opening of our borders on July 1”.
The Government will be stepping up home quarantine as we progress toward the July 1 date, and will be reducing government-run institutional quarantine centres to cater only for returning nationals that cannot home quarantine for the three days after arrival.
All post-arrival ‘3-day institutional quarantine’ for foreign nationals that do not have home quarantine facilities from 1 July 2022, will be ‘hotel-based quarantine’ at the cost of individual travellers.
All international travellers will be required to have one PCR negative test on day 3 post arrival before they are released.
The 3-day quarantine will be reviewed by the end of July, in the same manner as other countries have done when they re-opened their borders.