Starting from Thursday, every New Zealander boarding a flight to return home will be required to undergo quarantine or “managed isolation” in an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days, as part of the country’s latest response to curb COVID-19.
“As an island nation we have a distinct advantage in our ability to eliminate the virus, but our borders are also our biggest risk,” Xinhua news agency quoted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as saying at a press conference, adding the borders must be “tightly managed”.
“The government has gone harder earlier with border measures compared to other countries, but even one person slipping through the cracks and bringing the virus in can see an explosion in cases as we have observed with some of our bigger clusters,” Ardern said.
Foreign nationals were prevented to enter New Zealand from midnight March 19.
Thursday’s measures mainly target returning New Zealanders.
“Nearly 40,000 New Zealanders have returned home since March 20… That is more than all of the hotel rooms across the country that we could have properly housed people in,” she said.
New Zealand entered a four-week lockdown, or epidemic response Alert Level 4, from midnight on March 25.
The country has recorded 1,210 coronavirus cases with only one fatality.