New Zealand and its neighboring country Australia have banned entry for all foreigners in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus in the Oceanic nations, as the global COVID-19 toll continues to soar.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced her country should prepare for self-isolation amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, premier Andern also raised the nationwide alert by one level to alert level three effective immediately, while after 48 hours New Zealand will move to its highest level of alert.
“The trajectory is very clear: Act now or risk the virus taking hold as it has elsewhere. We currently have 102 cases, but so did Italy once, now the virus has overwhelmed their health system and hundreds of people are dying every day”, Ardern said.
Alert level two, which had remained in place until now, meant that the spread of coronavirus was still contained.
More than half of the confirmed cases in New Zealand were imported, the ministry of health noted, meaning they were identified in arrivals from other countries.
Globally, the coronavirus toll has exceeded 294,000, with more than 12,700 fatalities registered so far, according to the latest situation update by the World Health Organisation (WHO).