A border ban has been placed on all non New Zealand citizens and residents entering the country, the Prime Minister announced today.
Significant outbreaks of coronavirus in other countries have led the New Zealand Government to make further decisions and restrictions regarding the safety of New Zealanders.
"From 11.59pm we will close our border to any non-permanent residents or citizens attempting to visit here."
“I am not willing to make risks here.”
Cabinet met this afternoon to assess what Jacinda Ardern has called a “rapidly evolving situation” and said that while there was no incidence of community outbreak in New Zealand the measures were necessary, given the outbreaks offshore.
“All of the cases of Covid-19 to date relate to people travelling here and bringing the virus with them,” she said.
“While the majority have been returning New Zealanders, that has not always been the case.
"Therefore we need to continue to make further decisions and further restrictions to limit the risk of people bringing the virus into New Zealand.”
New Zealand citizens and permanent residents will be able to return, includes their children and partners.
Ms Ardern said the changes would also apply to the Pacific which had previously been exempted.
Exemptions would remain for the Pacific for key workers in the health sector and those who need to travel for humanitarian reasons.
She said returning New Zealanders do understand the importance of self-isolation, as spot checks have demonstrated. However visitors to New Zealand have been a concern to her after she says they have not adequately self-isolated.
“That is an unacceptable risk we must end,” Ms Ardern said.
“I want to acknowledge that no time in New Zealand’s history has a power like this been used. And I recognise how extraordinary that is,” she said.
“But we have to make decisions in the best interests of the health of the people who live here.”
She said the measures would help the virus break out in “small waves” of cases rather than the “overwhelming number” experienced in other countries.
Ms Ardern said she told Australian PM Scott Morrison of the decision that was made between 4-5pm today.
Right before Ms Ardern's announcement, Mr Morrison placed a border ban on all non-Australian residents and permanent residents from tomorrow evening.
The total number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases in New Zealand has risen to 28, with eight new cases confirmed today.
Up until now, all travellers entering New Zealand, except from the Pacific Islands, were required to enter self isolation for 14 days and there was a travel ban on mainland China and Iran.
It comes as Winston Peters increased New Zealand's travel advice to its highest level, with all Kiwis advised not to travel overseas and those overseas urged to come home.
This afternoon, indoor gatherings in New Zealand were limited to a maximum of 100 people.