Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins has said that New Zealand borders could be closed for another 12-18 months before life returns to a normal.

Chris Hipkins added that the country wouldn’t need to see ‘100 per cent’ vaccination rates to have enough held immunity to open the borders.

Speaking to the media this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government is working on an immunisation strategy against Covid-19 before considering any relation of restrictions on NZ borders.

“Vaccination will take some time to impact on the way we operate our borders and the resumption of normal life.

“Ultimately, 2021 will be the year of the vaccine,” Ardern said.

PM added that NZ’s goal is to be at a certain level of immunity before the government considers changing its border restrictions.

People would need to be able to safely go about their day-to-day lives before quarantine rules were eased, she said.

Chris Hipkins said the travel restrictions would remain in place for the next year to 18 months and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are talking to other countries about an international system to have people certifiably vaccinated.

He added that the government needs to know if someone has been vaccinated or not, as a part of NZ’s overall protection measures