New Zealand halts all flights from India amid fears of in-flight infection

Katie Ramirez
April 9, 2021

"We have never previously suspended travel to New Zealand citizens and residents and that's why I want to assure you this is not a permanent arrangement".

The New Zealand government has said that the ban on people coming from India will start from April 11 and continue till April 28.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern immediately announced a temporary halt to travel into the country from India, the departure point for most infected arrivals in recent weeks, shutting out New Zealand nationals for the first time since the pandemic emerged.

In a live media update this afternoon, the PM stressed that this is a temporary measure to stop people travelling from India to NZ, due to the high number of cases coming from the region. "The temporary hold would also help reduce the risk that travellers themselves faced".

The move comes after 17 new cases in overseas travellers were found in the past 24 hours, all of whom were from India.

U.S. President Biden expresses optimism in COVID-19 battle
The US President also said that the US will share excess vaccine doses with other countries tentatitvely by the end of summer. Some states already had begun moving up their deadlines from the original May 1 goal. "You've got to prioritize somehow".

But it has been reviewing its border settings as more infected people have been arriving recently, a lot of them from India.

The suspension applies to anyone who has been in India during the past 14 days. During this time the government will look at risk management measures to resume travel. New Zealand has already banned the entry of passengers from several other countries.

"We have looked into whether we have issues with the accuracy of pre-depature tests - that has not demonstrated that is where the problem lies, so this suspension gives us a bit of time to look at the issue more generally". "This is not a country specific risk assessment.". The 24-year-old was yet to be vaccinated.

New Zealand has virtually eliminated the virus within its borders, and has not reported any community transmission locally for about 40 days.

COVID-19 cases were spiking again, particularly in India and Brazil, and New Zealand was not immune, Ardern said.

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