Travel restrictions reconfirmed as precaution against COVID-19

Cabinet has confirmed that travel restrictions currently in place for China and Iran will continue for a further week, while people entering the country from South Korea and northern Italy will now be told to go into self-isolation.

“The international situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to evolve rapidly. Our priority remains protecting the health and safety of the public.

“Travel restrictions continue to be an important part of our comprehensive response. 

“China remains the largest single source of COVID-19 cases and while information out of Iran is variable, there is clearly ongoing community transmission there.  

“It makes sense to use temporary travel restrictions to limit the potential spread of the disease from both countries.

“However there are also concerning outbreaks in northern Italy and South Korea. 

“As a result, and based on fresh advice from Health officials, anyone who has been in those regions in the last 14 days will now be registered for self-isolation upon arrival in New Zealand.

“This is based on an expert assessment of risk. It recognises that while there are outbreaks in both countries they also have well developed health systems, and the outbreaks are largely located in specific regions.

“We know self-isolation works. It is a longstanding and successful approach to managing infectious diseases – and has proved its worth again in recent weeks.

“New Zealand will continue to take a precautionary approach to COVID-19. Although we have now had our first confirmed case, our actions at the border have helped keep the virus at bay – and given us valuable time to prepare,” David Clark said.

NOTE: The temporary travel restrictions have been extended until 11:59pm on Tuesday 10 March.