As borders open, New Zealanders can again travel for medical treatment.
As well as the usual cheap cosmetic surgery and dental treatment, Kiwis are considering medical tourism as elective surgery wait lists get longer. Government is taking action to try to shorten the wait, but that will take time.
New Zealand has, for some treatments, lack of access to medical facilities, so it is common for locals to go to Australia for some treatment. For cosmetic surgery, locals go overseas both to save money and get treatment not available locally. The most common procedures for New Zealanders travelling to Australia or Asia, particularly Thailand, Malaysia and India, are dentistry, heart surgery, hip and knee replacements, weight loss treatment, cancer treatment and cosmetic surgery.
Bums, Tums and Gums is a New Zealand medical travel agency that offers escorted medical tours to Thailand for cosmetic and dental surgery. Cosmetic surgery is about a third of the price and dentistry half of the price. Customers are beginning to also look at hip surgery.
New Zealand Orthopaedic Association however argues that people travelling to India or Thailand for surgery, are opening themselves up to certain risks. They may have no idea who is treating them or the facility they are being treated in, whether it is risk of infection or other issues.
New Zealand will fully reopen its borders to international tourism by the end of July. The country started to reopen with Australians once again be welcomed. People from the UK, USA and more than 50 other countries followed.
The country will welcome travellers from China, India and other countries starting on 31 July.
The government has revealed plans to end the need for people to get pre-departure COVID-19 tests by the end of July. New Zealand has updated its immigration policies to make it easier for skilled workers to enter, starting in July, through a new green list of 56 sought-after professions including doctors and nurses.