Coronavirus: Foreign backpackers arriving in NZ say they won’t self-isolateMarch 16th, 2020 | | backpacker
A number of European backpackers arriving in New Zealand on Monday morning have told The AM Show they will be continuing to travel around the country as planned, despite new rules coming into effect overnight.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced over the weekend anyone entering New Zealand from 1am on Monday would have to self-isolate for 14 days, in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Only people arriving from the Pacific Islands are exempt from the restrictions.
Newshub reporter Juliet Speedy visited Christchurch airport on Monday morning to speak with passengers arriving in the country.
Although Kiwis arriving home said they accepted the self-isolation rules as a necessary inconvenience, a number of European backpackers told her that though they will try to keep their distance from people as they travel in a campervan, they planned on travelling around the country as normal.
“It’s actually these people who are the biggest risk in terms of coronavirus on our soil because these people have been travelling far and wide – so it’s anyone’s guess how the New Zealand authorities are going to keep track of travellers like these,” Speedy told The Am Show.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said any foreign travellers who fail to self-isolate could be deported.
“We have the ability to quarantine them – put them in a facility, quarantine them, have a police officer stand outside the door and make sure they don’t leave. But I’ve also asked the question whether I have the power to deport as well,” Ardern told The AM Show on Monday.
One traveller Newshub spoke to said it will be a long 14 days in isolation.
“I do have annual leave, [but] I don’t know if I have any of that left and I do have the odd sick day so hopefully I have a bit of money there – otherwise I’m just going to have to wear it for two weeks,” said Sally Michael, who also arrived in Christchurch from Australia.
The stricter travel restrictions will be reviewed in 16 days.
Queenstown’s Mayor calls for calm
In Queenstown, the city’s Mayor is urging residents to remain calm, after the region’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed over the weekend when a Danish woman tested positive.
“It’s a woman travelling with her partner and children staying in a campervan,” Mayor Jim Boult told Newshub.
He says the woman was initially hospitalised and is now in self-isolation. Contact tracing is currently underway, he said.
“Clearly, the authorities have acted to handle it very appropriately.”
Boult says he hopes there won’t be a knee-jerk reaction in the region following the case.
“When a case was first discovered further north there was some panic-buying which proved totally unnecessary and I really hope people don’t do that.”
Sourced by Mike Barrow