June 19, 2021

NZ restricts entry from four ‘very high risk’ nations, incl. India

Entry of travellers from four ‘very high risk’ countries, including India, will be restricted into New Zealand under a new set of rules announced by government today.

The new ‘very high risk’ category will come into effect from midnight of April 29, and entry will be allowed only to New Zealand citizens, their partners, dependent children, the parent of a dependent child who is a New Zealand citizen.

Those with significant humanitarian reasons could get an exemption, but more info on the process will be announced later.

Other travellers, including New Zealand residents, can enter only if they spend 14 days outside a very high risk country before their arrival here, according to today’s announcement.

The COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins announced the creation of a new border restriction category for “very high risk” countries today. This move is to reduce the risk of the virus spreading into this country.

Travel restrictions on Indians
Only NZ citizens from ‘very high risk’ nations will be allowed entry into NZ

India, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Pakistan are currently the four nations falling under this new category,

All travellers from ‘very high risk’ countries will have to produce evidence of a negative RT-PCR test from an accredited laboratory taken within 72 hours prior to travel.

“Countries have initially been designated very high risk where there have been more than 50 cases of COVID-19 per 1000 arrivals to New Zealand from those countries in 2021, and where there are more than 15 travellers on average per month,” Chris Hipkins said.

“India, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Pakistan are the countries that currently meet that threshold, and as a result, travellers from those countries will be temporarily restricted to New Zealand citizens, their partners and children, and parents of children who are New Zealand citizens.

“A travel restriction can help us to manage that risk, and it already has.”

“All other travellers, including residents, will be required to have been outside of the very high risk country for at least 14 days before flying to New Zealand,” Hipkins added.

The Government will review this decision regularly.

New Zealand’s temporary ban on arrivals from India is set to expire on April 28.

Since the ban was imposed, the world’s second-most populous country is struggling with a second wave.

India has registered over 300,000 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the highest-ever single-day cases recorded in any country, taking the total tally to 1,59,30,965, according to India Health Ministry’s update yesterday.

Some hospitals are turning back patients due to critical oxygen shortages (Photo courtesy: Express)

The second wave of infections has overwhelmed hospitals and isolation wards. As cases of pandemic soar, patients are reportedly gasping for breath due to depleting oxygen stocks.

India’s hospitals have also been battling with oxygen shortages and overcrowding. Some hospitals have been turning away patients despite having beds because there is no oxygen to administer to those in need.

On 21 April, the ‘shocked and dismayed’ Delhi High Court passed strong strictures on the central government.

The court ordered the Centre to “forthwith” provide oxygen by whatever means to hospitals. “Beg, borrow or steal,” the court directed.

With the death toll spiking to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 new fatalities in the past 24-hours, crematoriums are also reportedly struggling.

While the the new set of rules announced by New Zealand today will bring a sigh of relief to citizens stranded there, but hopes of several others aspiring to come here under the family reunification visa relaxation, were dashed.