Travel advice raised to highest level amid coronavirus pandemic - 'do not travel'

New Zealand's travel advice has been raised to its highest level, with Kiwis advised not to travel overseas. 

Source: 1 NEWS

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said it reflects the "seriousness of the situation we are facing" amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

"This is the first time the New Zealand Government has advised New Zealanders against travelling anywhere overseas," he said.

Mr Peters called it a "very tough message, it’s unprecedented, but we’ve got to do it".

He called people who decided to travel "selfish, because they imperil the population here".

"Why add to our problems? We’ve got a huge set of difficulties that we can succeed on but we’ve got to be smart and conscious of our collective responsibility."

Eight additional cases of coronavirus were confirmed today, raising New Zealand's count to 28 in total. All new cases were related to overseas travel. 

Mr Peters said the travel advice would last until they can be assured travel is safe.

"New Zealanders who travel overseas risk contracting Covid-19," Mr Peters said. "At the same time, health care systems in many countries are under strain and do not have the capacity to support foreigners."

He reiterated that all New Zealanders currently travelling overseas should consider returning home "immediately".

Yesterday, Mr Peters said there are more than 80,000 people who come under the category of being overseas for a short-period of time. 

"Borders are closing, you may not be able to return to New Zealand when you had planned to. You should therefore organise to come home now," he said.

"If you choose to remain overseas despite our advice, the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide consular assistance may be limited due to internal travel restrictions and the suspension of services."

Future plans were being developed for possible mercy flights, but Mr Peters could not forecast when they would be put in place.

"We’ve got to anticipate if we’ve got a whole lot of people off shore who can’t get home, they may be able to assemble in one place where we could get a plane to them and bring them home and go through all the security measures."

He said long-term residents outside New Zealand would "need to consider their personal circumstances and do what is best for them and their family".

"Those New Zealanders who decide to remain overseas will need to ensure they are well prepared."