New Zealand is introducing stricter measures to strengthen its border as more citizens access increased flights to come home.
“While the world enters this dangerous new phase, we remain in a phase of border containment,” the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said.
The government renewed its health order, mandating 14 days of quarantine, which also included a new measure to ensure that people arriving in New Zealand must have a negative Covid-19 test before leaving quarantine, and may be required to take multiple tests.
“Overall, you can see, that we are continuing to assure ourselves and the New Zealand community that we are doing everything it takes to maintain our privileged position that every New Zealander has worked so hard for whilst the world enters into a phase where this pandemic grows, not slows.”
Ardern said New Zealand would extend the ban on cruise ships beyond 30 June. Exceptions will be made for cargo ships to load and unload and for fishing vessels, but any ship crew arriving in New Zealand would need to spend 14 days in quarantine if they hadn’t been on the vessel for 28 days prior to it docking.
Ardern said she was considering the option of making those coming into the country paying to for their time in quarantined, rather than the government footing the bill.
She said the jump in cases was due to more New Zealanders coming home, with a doubling of people in the last month. This was because as the world had started to open up with more flights becoming available. New Zealand was also seeing more flights coming in from parts of the world which have more Covid-19 cases.
Ardern said only hotels where people could be kept separated were being considered for managed isolation.
On Saturday, more than 200 travellers who had returned to New Zealand via Auckland Airport were put on buses and taken to hotels in Rotorua because Auckland was full.
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New Zealand now has nine active cases of Covid-19 as more people start arriving into the country from overseas.
Bloomfield told media on Monday that the latest case was a teenage girl who had arrived from Islamabad with her family. Her only symptom was a runny nose. However, her family had so far tested negative for Covid-19.
The second case was a man in his 30s who had arrived from India with his wife. Neither of them had displayed any symptoms. Over the weekend a child under two-years-old was also found to have Covid-19 along with their parents, after recently arriving home from India.
Bloomfield previously said the country was always expecting to get new cases at the border as New Zealanders return home from overseas after restrictions were lifted.
Cabinet minister Megan Woods, who has taken charge of the isolation operations, said these cases show that the managed isolation system was “working as it should”.
However, the government has been under increasing pressure in the last week for its management of quarantine and managed isolation facilities. This comes after two women entered the country from the UK and were allowed to travel to Wellington to visit a dying relative. They later tested positive for Covid-19.
This content was originally published here.