New Zealand says almost everyone entering must self-isolate

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says forcing self-quarantine is proven to be effective because it discourages travel. (AFP pic)

SYDNEY: New Zealand introduced one of the most severe measures by a nation to control the spread of the coronavirus, announcing that almost every individual who enters New Zealand, including citizens and residents, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

People coming in from the Pacific Islands will be excluded from the restrictions that will be imposed from midnight Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Saturday at a press conference in Auckland.

Cruise ships will not be allowed into New Zealand until at least June 30.

The decisions come after a Covid-19 Cabinet committee meeting on Saturday. New Zealand has already banned visitors from China and Iran, while people arriving from Italy and South Korea needed to self-isolate for 14 days.

She said Friday that forcing arrivals from certain countries to self-isolate for two weeks had proved an effective tool because it has discouraged travel.

New Zealand does not have community transmission of the disease, adding that based on current advice there was no need to cancel mass gatherings of people, she said.

The country cancelled a memorial on Sunday for the Christchurch mosque shootings that took place a year ago.

New Zealand has six confirmed coronavirus cases.