Two travellers who arrived in the country yesterday morning, including a woman who was removed from a Christchurch hostel today, could be up for deportation after failing to comply with requirements to self-isolate amid the coronavirus pandemic, Immigration New Zealand has confirmed.
The pair are currently under quarantine after entering New Zealand from Southeast Asia.
One of the travellers was removed from a Christchurch hostel by a Ministry of Health officer this morning after failing to comply with rules to self-isolate, Immigration New Zealand confirmed to 1 NEWS.
The Rucksacker hostel manager told Stuff the woman had been wearing a face mask when she arrived to check-in a private room last night. An officer with the Ministry of Health came to the reception area the following morning to "check on her and ask what her plans were for her isolation".
"They were just questioning her for a little bit in my office. And then a couple of hours later we had about five police officers and another person from the ministry and they eventually took her away."
Immigration New Zealand compliance and verification general manager Stephen Vaughan called their behaviour "completely irresponsible and will not be tolerated, which is why these individuals have been made liable for deportation."
“If they fail to depart after quarantine, they will be arrested and detained under the Immigration Act. Being deported has serious consequences. It means individuals will be banned from returning to New Zealand for a period of time and they may also find it difficult to travel to other countries,” Mr Vaughan said.
“The travel restrictions and requirements to self-isolate are in place for a good reason and will help save lives by reducing the spread of coronavirus. It is important that all travellers to New Zealand abide with those requirements.
“New Zealand is going hard, and going early, to do everything it can to protect New Zealand from Covid-19 and INZ is committed to doing all it can to help protect New Zealand during this uncertain time.”
The country has 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far, after four more people tested positive for the respiratory illness this evening.
It comes after the Government on Saturday announced that every person entering New Zealand would be required to self-isolate for 14 days, excluding people from the Pacific Islands.