New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
19 February 2020
The New Zealand Government is advising New Zealanders not to travel overseas due to COVID-19, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced.
“We are raising our travel advice to the highest level: do not travel,” Mr Peters said. “This is the first time the New Zealand Government has advised New Zealanders against travelling anywhere overseas. That reflects the seriousness of the situation we are facing with COVID-19.
“New Zealanders who travel overseas risk contracting COVID-19. At the same time, health care systems in many countries are under strain and do not have the capacity to support foreigners.”
Mr Peters has also urged all New Zealanders currently travelling overseas to consider returning home immediately.
“Borders are closing. You may not be able to return to New Zealand when you had planned to. You should therefore organise to come home now,” he said.
“If you choose to remain overseas despite our advice, the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide consular assistance may be limited due to internal travel restrictions and the suspension of services.
“Those New Zealanders who are long-term residents outside New Zealand will need to consider their personal circumstances and do what is best for them and their family,” Mr Peters said.
“Those New Zealanders who decide to remain overseas will need to ensure they are well prepared. New Zealanders in this situation should keep themselves safe by following the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local health authorities. New Zealanders overseas are also encouraged to register on SafeTravel so they can receive important updates on COVID-19.”
“In times of crisis, we will see the best in people, and the worst. To those who say we should not welcome our fellow citizens back to our shores I ask that you put yourselves in their shoes.“All New Zealanders need to show their compassion for one another. Now, more than ever.”
Last updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020