New Zealand officials said Thursday they will gradually loosen their border quarantine requirements, which have been among the toughest in the world throughout the pandemic. But while the changes will make it easier for New Zealanders stranded abroad to return home, officials gave no date for when tourists might be welcomed back. That change is likely still months away. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that from next month, most people arriving in New Zealand would need to spend seven days in a quarantine hotel run by the military, half the previous requirement. He said some new arrivals from low-risk Pacific island countries could skip quarantine altogether and isolate at home. He said the new rules were an interim step ahead of broader reopening measures that would be gradually introduced once more than 90 per cent of New Zealanders aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated. So far, 72 percent of eligible people have had both shots.