Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: New Zealand to quarantine inbound travelers from 2359 April 9. Highest alert level in effect, nonessential services closed until April 25.

This alert affects New Zealand

This alert began 20 Apr 2020 07:39 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, quarantine requirements, business and transport disruptions

Summary
New Zealand has extended a Level 4 alert, the highest level, and associated restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through 2359 April 27. An ongoing state of emergency, which allows the government to ban gatherings, take over facilities, requisition equipment, and supplies, and close roads, among other measures, remains in effect through April 22. The declaration requires renewal every seven days, and additional extensions are possible.

As of April 20, authorities still require people to stay at home as much as possible. All educational institutions and nonessential businesses remain closed, but some companies can begin preparations to reopen. Supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, utilities, and banks are open. All events, regardless of size, are banned. Schools are closed to all but the children of essential service workers. Hospitals are deferring elective services and procedures. Officials are also limiting transport operations; only essential workers can use public transport. Police are also monitoring road traffic and have reportedly erected roadblocks to prevent nonessential travel. Authorities could punish people in violation of the orders as much as NZD 4,000 (USD 2,200) or up to six months in jail.

The country will transition to a Level 3 alert April 28 through at least May 11; leaders will review the level every two weeks. Officials have stressed that a significant reduction in restrictions will not occur under Level 3. Authorities will continue to enforce social distancing and encourage people to stay at home as much as possible. Most nonessential businesses will probably remain closed. Employees in nonexempt sectors will continue to work from home. However, the reduction in level will allow workers in the manufacturing, construction, and forestry industries to resume work, so long as operators ensure social distancing measures. While the government plans to reopen schools from April 29, officials have asked parents to keep children at home if they can access classes online.

Travel Restrictions

New Zealand continues to ban all foreign nationals from entering the country. The measure includes citizens of Pacific nations, who were previously excluded from travel restrictions; however, exceptions will continue for citizens from the region and other foreign nationals for humanitarian reasons. Resident Australian citizens, permanent residents, and resident visa holders with valid travel conditions, as well as their immediate family members, are exempt from entry restrictions. Staff are conducting health screenings of all incoming passengers. Officials continue to require inbound passengers to remain at government-designated facilities for 14 days.

Advice
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.

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.

Resources
New Zealand Government COVID-19 Information: covid19.govt.nz

Ministry of Health: www.health.govt.nz

New Zealand Transport Agency: www.nzta.govt.nz