Jacinda Ardern has acknowledged the halt on travel from India will be difficult for families desperate to come back to New Zealand, but says the move came out of a sense of “responsibility”.
Ardern made the announcement this afternoon, saying the temporary suspension will begin at 4pm on April 11 and end on April 28.
It comes as India reported a record daily surge in new coronavirus cases for the second time in four days yesterday.
The rise of 115,736 coronavirus cases reported yesterday tops the 103,844 infections reported Sunday.
Fatalities rose by 630, the highest daily amount since November, driving the confirmed death toll in the country above 166,000.
Speaking at a press conference, Ardern acknowledged the halt will be difficult for some.
“I absolutely understand the difficulty that this temporary suspension will cause, I understand that.
“But I also feel a sense of responsibility and obligation to find ways to reduce risk that travellers are experiencing.”
Ardern said it followed a pattern of cases that pre-departure testing did not pick up.
"People are getting sick in the act of travelling to New Zealand. Not on the plane, but literally the act of coming to the airport to leave. I don’t want people experiencing that."
"This is a risk assessment generally."
Ardern did not rule out extending the suspension, but said she’d need to get advice.
“It does mean that we are limiting our own citizen’s ability to travel back to New Zealand.
“At this stage I cannot answer whether or not it would be any longer.
“It is not our intention this be a long-term tool.”
It comes after a large spate of cases from India in New Zealand’s MIQ facilities.