Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the latest Covid case and the India travel ban

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned frontline border workers there are penalites for those whose staff don’t get tested.

It comes after yesterday’s announcement that a security guard at the Grand Millennium MIQ tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

Ardern said today the guard – who was a contractor rather than a Government employee -was not an anti-vaxxer.

She said the Government was “very reassured” around its own agencies, but she reminded private providers that they need to get their frontline staff tested. If not, there are “penalties”.

The new positive case emerged on the same day as Ardern annoounced a two-week travel ban for India.

She said today passengers on flights arriving before the India travel ban starts will have the same “level of care” as every flight.

“We treat everyone as if they have Covid,” she said.

But if someone is thought to have the disease when they arrive, they are moved to quarantine.

Over the last two weeks, there have been more than 60 people from India who have tested positive for Covid.

Ardern said the Government was confident in its decision – but said her message to India was: “This is a temporary suspension.”

This issue had been talked about for “some time,” she said.

Hundreds of distraught Kiwis were left in limbo after yesterday’s shock announcement.

India is grappling with a growing Covid crisis, with some 93,000 people contracting the virus each day.

In recent days, more than 33 people flying from India have tested positive for the infection soon after landing in New Zealand.

Yesterday, travel from the sub-continent was put on pause from Sunday for a fortnight after the massive surge of cases in managed isolation.

It meant some 630 New Zealanders currently in India would not be able to return home between April 11 and April 28.

Ardern has unable to rule out an extension of the travel suspension – but has said it was not intended to be a long-term tool.

During the fortnight-long travel suspension, the Government would be developing a new system to manage people returning from high-risk countries, such as India.

This included looking at systems in place in New Zealand, as well as what can be done around pre-departure testing.

Ardern was yesterday not ruling out extending the unprecedented Indian travel suspension to other high-risk countries in order to keep New Zealand Covid-free.

There are presently 95 active Covid cases in quarantine facilities.


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