Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has announced on February 24 that the ban on arrivals from mainland China would be extended for eight more days amid the deadly Coronavirus outbreak. The extension of the ban is an attempt to curb the spread of the outbreak to New Zealand after a sharp increase in cases in South Korea, Italy, and Iran. Fears erupted that the outbreak would grow into a pandemic with deadly consequences for the rest of the globe.
Ardern told the media that New Zealand has no plans to widen the ban to other countries. She added that the nation would continue to focus on the epicentre of the outbreak. Ardern added that the deadly virus is highly likely to arrive in New Zealand, although no confirmed infections have been confirmed in the country so far.
On the other hand, the Australian government has reportedly raised the travel warning to level two and further advised people travelling to Japan to 'exercise a high degree of caution' because of the Coronavirus. The warning comes as Japan has registered nearly 150 cases of the deadly virus.
The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy reportedly also said that Japan is becoming a hotbed for the virus to spread. While speaking to an international media outlet, Murphy said that the coming days will be a 'critical time'. He further asked the central government, local governments, health officials, and medical personnel to wage an all-out, concerted response to the problem.
The warning by the Australian government also comes after South Korea raised its level to the 'highest' possible and Murphy further noted that the significant increase in reported cases is a cause for concern. Meanwhile, the death toll in China has surpassed 2,500 and the National Health Commission reportedly confirmed 150 new cases. The total number of confirmed cases within China also hit nearly 77,000.
First detected in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province of China, the virus outbreak has now spread across more than 25 countries since December 2019 and more than 1,700 people have recovered from the disease, whereas, nearly 12,500 Coronavirus patients have by now been discharged from hospitals.
(With Agency Inputs)