New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.
“Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing on local health systems, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has decided to temporarily withdraw New Zealand staff and their families from these locations for health and safety reasons,” said Mr Peters.
“The staff returning to New Zealand will contribute to MFAT’s critical COVID-19 response work at head office in Wellington.”
The High Commission in Barbados is closed as of today, and the Embassy in Yangon will close tomorrow (23 March). The temporary closure of these Posts will be reviewed in a month’s time.
“We are actively working to sustain our network around the globe and we have every intention to keep the vast majority of New Zealand’s 62 diplomatic posts open. However, with the rapidly changing health, safety and security situation for staff overseas due to COVID-19, we cannot rule out other temporary closures as a result of the pandemic.”
“We advise all New Zealanders to cancel their overseas travel plans at this time. We encourage all New Zealanders already travelling, to register on SafeTravel.govt.nz, and work with airlines to return home as soon as possible,” Mr Peters said.