Australia and New Zealand close borders to non-residents as coronavirus chaos ensues
Australia and New Zealand have announced today that they will be closing their borders to non-residents in the battle against coronavirus. New Zealand’s ban kicks off at midnight on Thursday, meanwhile, Australia’s will start at 9pm local time on Friday.
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“At no time in New Zealand’s history has a power like this been used, and I recognise how extraordinary it is,” said Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister.
She said that the move was a push to protect “the health of the country and our people”.
In Australia prime minister Scott Morrison said the ban was in place because most of the cases of coronavirus were coming to the country from overseas.
New Zealand will be banning entry to all people from outside countries or nationalities.
The only exception is for the partners and children of New Zealanders. The country will also continue to allow supplies and freight to be brought in by ship and plane, and the restriction does not apply to staff operating those vessels.
Meanwhile, Australia will also implement a similar rule. Exceptions will apply to citizens, residents or family and close friends.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand said taking this new step had “simply removed the risk”.
“I’m not willing to tolerate risk at our border, that is where predominantly our cases are coming from,” Ardern continued.
In New Zealand it is reported that all 28 of their current COVID-19 cases were brought across borders.
Australia currently has 687 cases of coronavirus.
New Zealand has also raised its travel advisory for citizens to level four, similar to the UK’s “Do Not Travel” advisory.
Residents of south countries are being advised to practise “self isolation” in a bid to try and stop spreading.
Both governments have also banned indoor public gatherings with more than 100 people.
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The UK’s Secretary of State Dominic Raab has advised UK residents to “avoid all unnecessary travel for 30 days”.
He said this is largely so that Uk residents do not become trapped overseas.
In a speech in the House of Commons he explained: He also said: “Following on from and consistent with the domestic measures announced by the Prime Minister yesterday, and based on the fast changing international circumstances today I’m announcing changes to FCO travel advice.
“UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries.
“The FCO will always take into consideration the safety of British nationals so with immediate effect I’ve taken the decision to advise British Nationals against non-essential travel globally for a period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.
“I should emphasise this decision is being taken based on the domestic measures being introduced into the UK alongside the border and a range of other restrictions which are being taken by countries right around the world.
“The speed and the range of these measures across other countries is unprecedented some of those decisions are being made without notice.
“In some countries or particularly cases where there haven’t yet been any reported cases of COVID-19 local authorities are nonetheless imposing restrictions on movement, and again doing so with little or sometimes no notice whatsoever.
“In light of those circumstances we want to reduce the risk of leaving vulnerable British travellers or tourists stranded overseas.”
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