Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: New Zealand continues to restrict entry for residents as of July 30. Most foreign nationals remain banned, with exceptions.
- Alert Begins: 30 Jul 2020 08:11 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 14 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Entry restrictions and quarantine requirements
New Zealand continues to restrict entry to the country for residents and citizens due to limited capacity at coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine facilities. National carrier Air New Zealand (NZ) has extended a suspension of new inbound bookings through at least Aug. 9. The government is reportedly working with NZ to create a voucher system for new arrivals, and further extensions are possible until the measure is in place. Authorities are maintaining the alert for COVID-19 at Level 1, though domestic measures - including transport restrictions - have ended.
An entry ban for most foreign nationals remains in place; however, authorities are allowing select foreign nationals to enter the country. Officials lifted a requirement for partners and dependents of citizens to return to the country together, provided they have a visa based on the relationship or usually reside in New Zealand. Such travelers and diplomats posted in New Zealand can enter the country without prior consent from the government. Authorities permit partners, dependents, and legal guardians of citizens without visas to enter the country. Entry is also possible for humanitarian reasons, Australian citizens and permanent residents that live in New Zealand, and Samoan and Tongan citizens on essential trips approved by their governments.
The government is also permitting critical workers to travel to New Zealand on short-term visas valid up to six months. Companies must apply for a visa and demonstrate that the worker's technical skills are unobtainable within the country, or they are working on infrastructure projects. Additionally, the government will allow some long-term, essential workers provided they meet short-term entrance criteria and earn twice the median salary in the country or participate in a government-backed event. The government requires people from these groups to receive permission before traveling to the country and will review applications for travel on a case-by-case basis.
Authorities are conducting health screenings of all incoming passengers. Officials continue to quarantine inbound passengers at government-designated facilities for 14 days; companies will have to cover the costs for inbound critical workers' isolation. The government has also introduced a bill in Parliament that would require passengers to pay for quarantine costs, with exceptions. However, it is unclear if or when the regulation will take effect. Quarantined passengers must test negative for COVID-19 and undergo two additional tests before departing facilities. Authorities have also extended the ban on cruise ships entering New Zealand ports; cargo and fishing vessels will be allowed to load and unload and undertake repairs. Vessel crews arriving in New Zealand are required to spend 14 days in quarantine unless they had been on the vessel for 28 days before docking at the port.
Postpone travel to New Zealand if affected by restrictions. Confirm flight status if allowed entry into the country. Follow all official instructions and allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Plan to undergo quarantine if entering the country. Limit domestic trips to government-approved travel; be prepared to explain reasons for travel to authorities.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.