TODAY |

New Zealand to restrict travellers from China as coronavirus spreads worldwide

New Zealand is blocking travellers who have been through mainland China to try and prevent coronavirus from entering the country.

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New Zealand's travel advice is now at its highest level, with people warned not to go to China. Source: 1 NEWS

Kiwis are also warned not to visit China at all, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade raising its travel advice to the highest level - "do not travel".

Today's announcement follows a similar one from Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the new travel restrictions while addressing media from Northland today.

The new rules mean all foreign nationals travelling from or through mainland China will face entry restrictions, effective from tomorrow for two weeks.

"We have been advised by health officials that while there are still a range of unknowns in the way the virus is being transmitted, we should take a precautionary approach and temporarily stop travel into New Zealand from mainland China, and of people who have recently been in China," Ms Ardern says.

"It is critically important that we both protect New Zealanders from the virus and play our part in the global effort to contain it."

The position will be reviewed every 48 hours, Ms Ardern says.

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The new rules mean all foreign nationals travelling from or through mainland China will face entry restrictions. Source: 1 NEWS

Air New Zealand says it's immediately postponing its flights between Auckland and Shanghai for two months, amid the outbreak.

Originally it was going to be from next Sunday, but Air New Zealand confirmed today it's bringing it forwards due to the Government's new travel restrictions.

The final flight will leave Shanghai for Auckland at 7pm NZT, with tonight's flight from Auckland to Shanghai cancelled.

"Our teams are working to make alternative travel arrangements for all customers impacted by this suspension and they will be contacted with options in the coming days," Air New Zealand's Captain David Morgan said today.

The new coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, and has killed more than 300 people and infected 11,000 worldwide so far. There have been no cases in New Zealand to date.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters says the new rules are aiming to help "reinforce work being done to try and reduce human-to-human transmission".

“New Zealand has not had a confirmed case of the virus and the risk of outbreak is low and we want to keep it that way. The health and safety of New Zealanders is our main priority."

The new coronavirus is from the same family of viruses as the common cold and has similar symptoms.