New Zealand suspends entry for travellers from India due to high Covid cases

Melbourne/Wellington, April 8

New Zealand has for the first time imposed a temporary ban on travellers coming from India, including its citizens, from April 11 to 28 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases among visitors to this country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday.

The travel restriction comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases in managed isolation on Thursday, of which 17 came from India, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield was quoted as saying by media reports.

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 ban will begin from 4 pm local time on April 11 and will be in place until April 28, she said.

“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.