New Zealand has suspended the entry of travellers from India in light of the recent surge in Covid-19 infections. The temporary suspension will be enforced from 11 April onwards, said government officials.
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand made the announcement during a briefing in Auckland earlier today.
The suspension will be in force from 4 PM on 11 April till 28 April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The travel ban will apply to all citizens and residents of New Zealand.
Asked about the ban on travellers from India, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the suspension is temporary because her government is obligated “to allow citizens to return to New Zealand.
Reports suggest that the government of New Zealand took the decision after a border worker tested positive for Covid-19. News outlet RNZ quoted New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield to say that 17 of 23 new confirmed Covid-19 patients in the country had arrived from India.
The temporary ban comes at a time when India has been reporting over 100,00 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) daily for the past three days. The country’s total case tally has gone up to 12.8 million, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
While she did not rule out the extension of this travel ban, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she understands the difficulty this temporary suspension will cause.
“I feel a sense of responsibility and obligation to find ways to reduce risk that travellers are experiencing,” Jacinda Ardern said. She went on to add that the suspension will give authorities time to figure out issues with pre-departure tests.
The government of New Zealand is not considering a travel ban on other countries, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Earlier this week, New Zealand put in place a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia effective from 19 April.
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.