‘You are not welcome’: New Zealand to deport visitors who are not self-isolating

'If you come here and have no intention of following our requirements to self-isolate, then frankly... you should leave before you are deported,' says prime minister Jacinda Ardern

Kate Ng
Tuesday 17 March 2020 12:40
'Frankly, you are not welcome' - Jacinda Ardern speaks to travellers not adhering to coronavirus rules

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has warned travellers they face being deported if they refuse to self-isolate in accordance with the country’s latest coronavirus restrictions.

The government announced on Saturday anyone entering New Zealand from abroad would be required to self-isolate for 14 days, excluding people from the Pacific Islands.

Ms Ardern said during a press conference on Monday: “I consider this really a warning to those who choose to come to New Zealand. We are a country that takes our roles and responsibility of being hospitable very, very seriously but in return we ask that visitors reciprocate.

“We will look after you if you look after us. If you come here and have no intention of following our requirements to self-isolate, then frankly, you are not welcome and you should leave before you are deported.”

Immigration authorities took two travellers into quarantine just hours later for failing to comply with the new requirements, reported TVNZ.

Stephen Vaughan, from Immigration New Zealand, said the travellers’ behaviour was “completely irresponsible” and they are now “liable for deportation”.

He was quoted as saying: “If they fail to depart after quarantine, they will be arrested and detained under the Immigration Act. Being deported has serious consequences.

“It means individuals will be banned from returning to New Zealand for a period of time and they may also find it difficult to travel to other countries.”

Mr Vaughn added the requirements “will help save lives” and that the country is “going hard” to do whatever it can to protect citizens from coronavirus.

New Zealand has just 12 confirmed cases of the disease so far and no deaths.

Gatherings of 500 people or more have also been banned to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Ms Ardern also warned that the economic impact of the virus, which has infected over 183,000 people globally, could be “greater than the global financial crisis”.

The government announced on Tuesday it would spend billions of dollars, the equivalent to 4 percent of GDP, in supporting companies hard-hit by coronavirus.

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