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Updated COVID-19 measures

  • calendar

    13 March 2020

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    New Zealand

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New Zealand has implemented temporary border measures to reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading within New Zealand. People who have left or transited through mainland China or Iran (Category 1a countries) in the 14 days prior to boarding are denied entry into New Zealand. This includes transit passengers.

People who are exempt from the temporary restrictions are:

  • New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents whose primary place of established residence is New Zealand
  • Air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

People exempt from the temporary restrictions register with Healthline and self-isolate for 14 days after they return to New Zealand if they have been in, or transited through, mainland China, or Iran (excluding airport transfers), or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Countries in Category 1b are Italy, the city of Seattle, and the Republic of Korea. People who have travelled in these countries in the past 14 days may enter New Zealand but are requested to undertake 14 days self-isolation and register with Healthline…  …For transit passengers, the recommendation to self-isolate should take into account the traveller's chance of being exposed to a case.

Category 2 countries are Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, the western seaboard states of the United States (California, Oregon and the remainder of Washington State) and Europe. Europe is defined as the Schengen Visa Area and those countries subject to the European Union freedom of movement of people rules (i.e. currently including the UK) with the exception of Italy (which is category 1b). People who have travelled from or via these countries in the past 14 days do not need to self-isolate but will be given advice about symptoms of concern (fever, cough or shortness of breath) and how to seek advice if they become unwell.

The new border measures relating to the United States and Europe will be effective as at midnight on Friday 13 March 2020…

…From 11 March 2020, novel coronavirus capable of causing severe respiratory illness and COVID-19 were scheduled as ‘quarantinable diseases’ under the Health Act 1956. This means that the quarantinable disease provisions in the Health Act 1956 and the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 can be used if necessary.

As a result, vessels or aircraft may be quarantined when they come into New Zealand, where there are grounds to believe there may be cases of novel coronavirus capable of causing severe respiratory illness or COVID-19 on board. The public health units will activate their public health emergency contingency plans if a person on board the aircraft or vessel is suspected of having novel coronovirus capable of causing severe respiratory illness or COVID-19…

…Illness is expected to be reported as part of the advance notice of arrival process submitted at least 48 hours before the vessel arrives and the health status update 12 to 24 hours before arrival.

…Additional questions are now being asked as part of the health clearance process (advance notice of arrival and no change of health status messages). The three questions are included in the no change of health status from:

  • Has the vessel departed or transited through mainland China, Iran, Italy, the city of Seattle, or the Republic of Korea in the last 14 days?
  • Are there any passengers or crew on board who have departed, or transited through, mainland China, Iran, Italy, the city of Seattle, or the Republic of Korea in the last 14 days?
  • Are there any passengers or crew on board who have been had contact with a person who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in the last 14 days?

If any illness is reported, public health staff will

  • inform the Harbour Master and border agencies of all reports of ill travellers
  • withhold pratique (health clearance) if a quarantinable disease is suspected (note from 11 March 2020, COVID-19 will be a quarantinable disease)
  • follow normal processes for ill travellers if there is no reasonable suspicion of a quarantinable disease risk, AND the symptoms are not consistent with COVID-19 OR there is no history of travel to, or transiting through mainland China, Iran, Italy, the city of Seattle, or the Republic of Korea in the last 14 days (vessel or passengers): i.e. gather information, undertake a risk assessment and take actions to mitigate risk as necessary.
  • withhold pratique, inform the Ministry of Health (0800 GETMOH) urgently, and meet the vessel on arrival, if there is history of travel to, or transiting through, mainland China, Iran, Italy, the city of Seattle, or the Republic of Korea in the last 14 days (vessel, crew or passengers), OR a suspicion of COVID -19 infection.
  • implement the public health border contingency emergency response plan for managing suspected quarantinable diseases
  • complete a risk assessment
  • manage cases and contacts as laid out in this Framework
  • ensure appropriate treatment for ill traveller
  • require close contacts to self-isolate until suspected case is cleared or 14 days if suspected case is confirmed…

…There is no expectation that vessels with ill crew or passengers should be held at anchor. Crew and passengers cannot disembark before pratique is issued and any risk management procedures will be discussed with the Master and Agent…

The COVID-19 webpages are updated daily: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

(For information about operations in New Zealand, contact the GAC Singapore Hub Agency Centre at hub.sg@gac.com)

Source: Extracts from New Zealand COVID-19 Border Advisory (12) dated 12 March 2020

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