New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced a temporary ban on travellers from India starting April 11 including its own citizens, following a high number of COVID-19 infections arriving from the country.
The move comes 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 a news conference in Auckland.
India is battling a deadly second wave of COVID-19 with daily infections this week passing the peak of the first wave seen last September.
The suspension will start from 1600 local time on April 11 and will be in place until April 28. During this time the government will look at risk management measures to resume travel.
“I want to emphasize that while arrivals of COVID from India has prompted this measure, we are looking at how we manage high risk points of departure generally. This is not a country specific risk assessment…,” 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’s been reviewing its border settings as more people with infections arrive in New Zealand recently, majority being from India.
Ardern said the rolling average of positive cases has been steadily rising and hit 7 cases on Wednesday, the highest since last October.
New Zealand on Thursday also reported one new locally infected case in a worker who was employed at a coronavirus managed isolation facility. The 24-year-old was yet to be vaccinated.
Following the massive spike in cases in India, several states have imposed restrictions on the travelling and have made it compulsory for passengers to carry a negative Covid-19 report while crossing borders. The government has speeded up the process of vaccination across the country to immunise more and more people against the virus. At present, everyone aged 45 years or above is eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine.