New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand is taking no chances with the COVID- 19 surge and hence will temporarily suspend the entry for all travellers, including its citizens, from India for about two weeks from April 11 .
The ban will begin on Sunday and will remain in place until April 28, she said. While arrivals from India had triggered the risk assessment, Prime Minister Ardern said the Government would be looking at risks posed by other COVID-19 hotspot countries, the New Zealand Herald reported.
The travel restriction comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases in managed isolation on Thursday, of which 17 came from India, the report added.
“This is not a permanent arrangement but rather a temporary measure,” Ardern said, adding that the temporary hold would also help reduce the risk that travellers themselves faced.
The ban covers all travellers, including New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.
While there have been previous travel bans on travellers from some countries, New Zealand has never suspended travel to New Zealand citizens and residents, Ardern said, adding that she absolutely understands the difficulty that this temporary suspension will cause for Kiwis in India.
But I also feel a sense of responsibility and obligation to find ways to reduce risks that travellers are experiencing, she said.
Health teams would use the time until April 28 to try and plan safer ways to accept travellers from India. But there were no guarantees officials would come up with a better solution, she said. We haven’t identified anything obvious … but we have to try and do better,” Ardern said.