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New Zealanders should avoid all non-essential travel overseas

March 16, 2020 Travel Warnings No Comments
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The New Zealand Government has taken further decisions on border measures for travellers to New Zealand, and is also now encouraging New Zealanders to avoid non-essential travel overseas.

From 23:59 Sunday 15 March 2020 every person entering New Zealand from anywhere in the world apart from the Pacific (details see below) will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and register with Healthline (0800 358 5453). These additional measures are temporary and will be reviewed after a period of 16 days on 31 March 2020. The complete travel ban for China and Iran remains in place.

For the purpose of the above restrictions, the Pacific is defined as the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.

A number of countries and territories are currently experiencing an active outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are monitoring the situation closely including the implications for overseas travel.  With the situation changing rapidly, our travel advisories are under close review so please check this News Feature regularly. It is being updated as new information comes to hand.

Globally there have been significant travel disruptions due to Covid-19. If you have questions or concerns about your travel plans, please get in contact with your airline, travel agent or insurance provider for advice. The New Zealand Government does not control decisions made by airlines.

Locations with confirmed cases

For a list of countries, territories and locations with confirmed cases of COVID-19, please see the latest situation report  from the World Health Organization.

Health information

On 31December 2019, the World Health Organization was informed of cases of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan City. Hubei Province, China.  Common signs of infection include: respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.  In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory symdrome, kidney failure and death.

Please see the Ministry of Health website  for guidance on prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment of COVID-19.  This includes advice for travellers.  If you are looking for advice about self-isolation requirements, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116 (available within New Zealand only). The Healthline team are specialists in accessing and advising over the phone. If you are outside New Zealand, please see the Ministry of Health website.

Detailed health information, including information for travellers, is available on the websites of the World Health Organization (WHO)  and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Changes to our travel advisories

Our travel advisories are under constant review.  Please check them regularly before you finalise your travel plans.

We have upgraded our advisory level for travel to the following countries due to COVID-19:

Going on a cruise?

New Zealanders, particularly those with underlying health concerns, should reconsider taking an overseas cruise at this time due to COVID-19. The virus can spread quickly on board cruises due to the close contact between passengers. Some cruise ships have been put into quarantine, and countries have denied entry to ports, which can have significant consequences for travellers. If in doubt, consult a medical professional before travelling.

If you choose to continue your plans for a cruise, and you’re concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your plans, please contact your travel agent or cruise operator for specific information. Please also check the Australasia website  of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which outlines the protocols they put in place for the health and safety of cruise passengers and crew in response to COVID-19.  All CLIA member cruise lines are required to implement these protocols.

Travel insurance

Your travel insurance may be affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 in your country of destination and the level of our travel advice for that country, especially if we advise against travel to that destination.  Before travelling, we recommend that you check your travel insurance policy carefully and contact your travel insurer if you have questions or concerns about whether you are covered by your insurance policy for any potential COVID-19 related expenses.  Travel insurance cover differs from company to company.

Border restrictions

For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website  before you travel.  IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.

New Zealand:

As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has temporary travel restrictions in place for some foreign travellers.  This decision will be reviewed every 48 hours and the Government will decide on or before Tuesday 17 March 2020 whether the travel restrictions need to remain in place.

These restrictions apply to any foreigners who:

  • Have been present in, or transited through, Iran or mainland China or any other notified country, 14 days prior to departing for New Zealand.  Mainland China includes all of China, but not Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, and not Taiwan.
  • Were a passenger or crew on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises, or any other notified cruise ship, within 14 days of disembarking from the cruise ship.

The decision to deny boarding or refuse entry to New Zealand does not apply to New Zealand citizens, permanent residents with valid travel conditions and their immediate family, who will still be able to come to New Zealand.  Immediate family includes partners/spouse, legal guardian and dependent child under the age of 24.

Australian citizens and permanent residents are also not subject to the travel restrictions if New Zealand is their primary place of established residence.  However, if they have been present in, or transited through mainland China or Iran 14 days before departing for New Zealand, they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the time they arrive in New Zealand.

For more information please see the Immigration New Zealand website  and factsheet on COVID-19 .  You can also call Immigration New Zealand on 0508 225 288 (within New Zealand) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside New Zealand).

According to Ministry of Health guidance, you should self-isolate when arriving in New Zealand from Iran, mainland China, Northern Italy and South Korea (Republic of Korea).  For more details please refer to the Ministry of Health  website.

Pacific island countries:

Pacific island countries are introducing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to their countries.  All travellers to Pacific island countries should check the entry requirements for their destination before travelling.

Samoa has reduced the frequency of international flights from New Zealand to Samoa.  Contact your airline, travel agent, accommodation provider and travel insurance provider to confirm your travel and related arrangements.  Airlines and other travel providers will have the most up-to-date information about flight availability.

Travellers entering Samoa from, or transiting through, New Zealand are required to undergo a medical examination by a Registered Medical Practioner within three days before arrival.  The medical clearence report will be required at check-in prior to the issuing of a boarding pass.

Other countries and territories:

A number of other countries and territories have announced they are closing their borders to, or introducing restrictions on, foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China and other locations that have confirmed cases of COVID-19.  These border restrictions may apply to New Zealanders including those seeking to transit through these countries or territories to New Zealand.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not provide immigration advice for entry to other countries and territories.  The border authorities of the country or territory you are travelling to determine your eligibility for entry.  We recommend that before travelling you consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls that may apply to you.

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