New Zealand on Thursday announced the temporary ban on travellers from India, including its own citizens, for about two weeks following a spike in the number of positive COVID cases arriving from the India. The move comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border on Thursday, of which 17 were from India.
In a news conference held in Auckland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “We are temporarily suspending entry into New Zealand for travellers from India.”
A second wave of COVID-19 has hit India with the daily infection rate crossing the peak of the first wave seen last September.
The temporary suspension into New Zealand will begin from 1600hs on April 11 and will be in place until April 28. During this time the government will deliberate 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 eradicated COVID-19 within its borders and has not reported any community transmission for about 40 days. The country has been reviewing its border settings as more people with infections have arrived 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.
India recorded 1,15,736 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the biggest-ever single-day surge since the onset of the pandemic early last year, taking the overall tally to 12,801,785. In recent days, India has been recording more than one lakh cases every day. This makes India the third country to record six-figure spikes in daily numbers following the US and Brazil. The dreadful condition in the country has forced many states to impose lockdowns or restrictions to control the spread of the deadly disease.
The travel suspension came just two days after New Zealand announced the launch of a trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia on 19 April.