The move comes after New Zealand registered 23 new cases of coronavirus at its border, including 17 in India.
New Zealand has temporarily suspended entry for all travelers from India, including its own citizens, for around two weeks following a high number of positive coronavirus cases from the country of South Asia.
The move comes after New Zealand on Thursday recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border, including 17 in India.
“We are temporarily suspending entry to New Zealand for travelers from India,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference in Auckland.
India has recorded 12.8 million cases of COVID-19, the most after the United States and Brazil. It is now battling a deadly second wave of infections, with the number of infections in the past 24 hours reach a record level of 126,789 cases Thursday.
New cases reported by India’s health ministry surpassed 115,736 infections as of Wednesday, with dozens of towns and villages imposing nightly curfews in an attempt to contain the infections.
Deaths from COVID-19 have increased by 685 in the past 24 hours, the highest since November, bringing India’s death toll to 166,862 since the start of the pandemic.
The New Zealand entry suspension for travelers from India will begin at 4:00 p.m. local time (04:00 GMT) on April 11 and will be in effect until April 28. Meanwhile, the government will review risk management measures to resume travel.
The suspension applies to anyone who has been in India in the last 14 days. This is the first time that New Zealand has extended an entry ban to its own citizens and residents.
“I want to stress that while the COVID arrivals from India prompted this move, we are looking at how we deal with high-risk entry points in general. 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 has revised its border parameters as more and more infected people have arrived recently, most of them from India.
Pre-departure testing requirements have reduced the number of positive cases from other countries, but this has not been the case with India, Ardern said.
“We checked whether or not we have problems with [the] the accuracy of pre-departure tests. It has not shown that this is where the problem lies. This suspension therefore gives us time to examine the problem more generally, ”she said.
New Zealand also reported a new locally infected case on Thursday in a worker employed at a coronavirus isolation center.