New Zealand brings in ‘world’s toughest border restrictions’ to fight outbreak

New Zealand will require everyone arriving in the country to isolate themselves for 14 days in a bid to stop coronavirus spreading.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the new restrictions will be the world’s toughest.

Although New Zealand only has six confirmed deaths, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the new rules, which come in from midnight Sunday local time, will mean New Zealand has the toughest restrictions in the world.

She said: “Cabinet made far reaching and unprecedented decisions today because these are unprecedented circumstances.”

“As of midnight Sunday every person entering New Zealand, including returning New Zealand citizens and residents, will be required to enter self isolation for 14 days – everybody.”

“This decision will mean New Zealand will have the widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world.”

The move comes after a similar one from Israel, which has said all arrivals will have to isolate themselves for two weeks.

Ms Ardern added: “We are also encouraging New Zealanders to avoid all non-essential travel overseas – this helps reduce the risk of a New Zealander bringing COVID-19 in.

“We do not take these decisions lightly, we know these travel restrictions will place a significant strain on the aviation industry and we anticipate some routes will reduce or cease for a period of time.”

However, she added that there would be an exemption for Pacific islands, with arrivals from that region required to isolate themselves only if they show any virus symptoms.

New Zealand’s border is already closed to international visitors who have travelled to China or Iran, while people arriving from Italy and South Korea, must go into quarantine for 14 days.

The current measures in New Zealand will be reviewed in 16 days.

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