Covid-19: Everyone entering New Zealand will be required to isolate, cruise ships banned

Source: 1News

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has this afternoon announced that, as of midnight on Sunday, almost everyone entering New Zealand will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

Ms Ardern said the "unprecedented measures" are the result of a decision to take an active approach to preventing further Covid-19 cases in New Zealand.

The isolation policy will be reviewed in 16 days' time, with the potential for it to be extended.

"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," Ms Ardern said.

People travelling from the Pacific Island are exempted from this measure, unless they are showing symptoms of Covid-19.

Airline and marine crew are also exempt, but will be required to isolate themselves in their accommodation while they wait for their return flight or voyage.

Ms Ardern also announced new border-exit measures for the Pacific Islands.

People will not be allowed to travel from New Zealand to the Pacific Islands if they have any Coronavirus symptoms, or if they have travelled outside of New Zealand within the past 14 days.

No one will be allowed to travel from New Zealand to a Pacific Island if they have had close or casual contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19.

People travelling to the islands will also be required to undergo a health assessment, including a temperature check.

The Prime Minister also announced that no cruise ships will be allowed to come to New Zealand until June 30.

"We have two choices as a nation - one is to lets Covid-19 roll on and simply brace - the second is to go hard on preventive measures and stamp it out," Ms Ardern said.

"Alongside Israel, and a small number of Pacific Islands who have effectively closed their border, this decision will mean New Zealand will have the widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world."

There are currently six confirmed cases in New Zealand, and Ms Ardern said five of those had already undergone contact tracing, and that was underway for the sixth.

Ms Ardern said a business continuity package will be announced on Tuesday, and new guidelines will also be announced around large mass gatherings and events.

She also said that a range of continuity measures will be introduced next week in order to support people who are forced to go into isolation.

"The best protection for the economy is containing the virus," Ms Ardern said, "a widespread outbreak will hurt our economy far more in the long run than short term measures to prevent a mass outbreak occurring".