Covid-19

Ardern announces border to close within hours

Ardern announces closure of New Zealand's border to non-citizens and residents from 11.59pm on Thursday, ahead of Australia's closure to non-residents from 9pm Australian time tomorrow

In an unprecedented move to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus by visitors to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on live broadcasts to the nation in the six o'clock news shows that New Zealand would close its borders to non-residents from 11:59 pm tonight.

The announcement came as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a similar closure for Australia, which will apply from 9pm Australian time on Friday.

Ardern said she was disappointed that some visitors had chosen not to isolate, as required in her previous border restrictions announced last Saturday.

"There continues to be significant outbreaks in other countries, and that poses a very serious risk to the rest of the world, including to New Zealand," Ardern said.

"All of the evidence to date is that returning New Zealanders understand the requirement for self isolation and the spot checks have demonstrated that. But I've been increasingly concerned that visitors to New Zealand have not necessarily adequately self isolated for 14 days or are choosing not to, and that is an unacceptable risk that we must end," she said.

"I want to acknowledge that in no time in New Zealand's history has a power like this been used, and I recognise how extraordinary it is. But we have to make decisions in the best interests of the health of those who live here, whether they be young or old, whether they are newly arrived or permanent. If we slow down Covid-19, if we break it into small waves of cases rather than the overwhelming number experienced in other countries, that is how we help our jobs and economy too."

Fiji has also closed its borders after a case was found there. This adds to the list of countries that have done so, including America, Canada, Britain and China.

Read more of Newsroom's Covid-19 coverage here. 

Covid-19 is transmitted like the flu. The Ministry of Health recommends that all New Zealanders wash their hands frequently and refrain from touching their face in order to protect themselves and others. Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with Covid-19.

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