PM: temporary travel suspension from India

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone.

UPDATE: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a temporary suspension of travel from India to New Zealand.

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 ban will be in place from 4pm April 11 until April 28. It also includes New Zealand citizens and residents.

Ardern says this is a temporary suspension while they look at other ways to reduce the risk of Covid coming into NZ from high risk countries.

In the past 24 hours, New Zealand has reported 23 cases of Covid identified in people arriving in NZ, with 17 of the new cases coming from India.

Ardern this ban is in place while the government reviews the border system they have in place.

"Cases of the virus have been on the rise internationally ... with surges particularly in Brazil and India... We are starting to see this global trend mirrored here," she says.

Cases in managed isolation facilities have increased from two or three a day to four to five a day for the rolling seven-day average.

India has been struggling with a sustained outbreak.

"We want to see fewer cases arriving in general," Ardern says. "Advice is people are likely getting the virus ... as they travel to an airport and before they board a plane."

It is the first time New Zealand has stopped citizens or residents from returning here.

Ardern says the government has been concerned about high risk countries for some time.

"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."

The suspension is temporary because "we do have obligations to allow citizens to return to New Zealand", Ardern says.

It would reduce the risk to New Zealand and to the travellers, she says.

It was announced this week that a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia would operate from April 19.

EARLIER

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is making an announcement on the government's latest Covid-19 containment efforts.

Watch live from about 2.30pm:

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield confirmed this afternoon that a border worker had tested positive for Covid-19.

The 24-year-old security guard at the Grand Millennium MIQ facility in Auckland had not yet been vaccinated.

Bloomfield also announced 23 new positive Covid cases in managed isolation, 17 of which had arrived from India.

Bloomfield said countries like Brazil and India were experiencing rampant spread of the disease and that Ardern would be announcing measures to counter the threat of in-flight transmission of the virus among those entering New Zealand and the heightened threat this posed to border workers.

It was announced this week that a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia would operate from 19 April.

More to come...

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