New Zealand bans all arrivals from India over Covid-19 cases

The move comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border on Thursday

New Zealand on Thursday temporarily suspended entry for all travellers from India, including its own citizens, for two weeks after a high number of positive coronavirus cases arriving from the South Asian country.

The move came after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border on Thursday, of which 17 were from India.

"We are temporarily suspending entry into New Zealand for travellers from India," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in Auckland.

India has recorded 12.8 million Covid-19 cases, the most after the United States and Brazil.

Covid-19 around the world

It is now battling a deadly second wave of infections, and this week the number of daily new cases passed the peak of the first wave last September.

The New Zealand suspension will start from 4pm local time on April 11 and will be in place until at least April 28.

During this time, the government will look at risk management measures to resume travel.

The suspension applies to anyone who has been in India during the previous 14 days.

It is the first time that New Zealand has extended any bar on entry to its own citizens and residents.

"I want to emphasise that while arrivals of Covid from India prompted this measure, we are looking at how we manage high-risk points of departure generally. This is not a country-specific risk assessment," Ms Ardern said.

New Zealand has virtually eliminated the virus within its borders and has not reported any community transmission locally for about 40 days.

But it reviewed its border settings after more infected people arrived recently, most of them from India.

Pre-departure testing requirements reduced the number of positive cases coming from other countries but that has not been the case with India, Ms Ardern said.

"We have looked into whether or not we have issues with accuracy of the pre-departure tests. That has not demonstrated and that's where the problem lies. So this suspension gives us the time to look at the problem more generally," she said.

New Zealand on Thursday also reported one new locally infected case in a worker who was employed at a coronavirus managed isolation facility.

Updated: April 8, 2021 08:55 PM

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