New Zealand has announced that it will be closing its borders to all foreigners in an attempt to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. According to reports, only permanent residents, citizens and their families will be allowed to enter the country. The ban will go into effect from midnight on March 19. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a press conference.
As per reports, Arden said that permanent residents and New Zealand citizens will be allowed to return, as well as their partners and children. She added that the ban will also now apply to the Pacific which had been earlier exempted. The Pacific was added to the list of banned foreigners due to the recent discovery of the first case of COVID-19.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced a similar measure. Only permanent residents of Australia will be allowed to enter the country after 9pm (local time) on March 20. According to reports, Morrison told reporters that he was in contact with New Zealand’s Prime Minister and he appreciated the consultation with her.
There are currently 28 positive cases of coronavirus in New Zealand with no deaths reported, while there are 636 reported cases in Australia with 6 deaths. The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has claimed more than 8,960 lives across the world and has infected over 2,19,332 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Italy and Iran are the other countries that are most affected by the virus outbreak.
New Zealand on March 17, announced that it would pump $7.31 billion into the economy. According to reports, the amount is equal to 4 per cent of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This announcement was made in order to slow a contraction expected from the business disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to reports, Finance Minister Grant Robertson in a news conference said that the proposed amount was larger than the one that was implemented during the global financial crisis and added that it was larger in terms of GDP percentage to packages offered by other countries like Australia and Singapore.