PNG designated 'very high risk' country for travel to NZ

2:40 pm on 23 April 2021

Covid-19 concerns have prompted New Zealand's government to create a new category of a "very high risk country" which includes Papua New Guinea.

Only New Zealand citizens and their immediate family will be able to travel to New Zealand from these countries.

Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins at 1pm Covid briefing, 14 April 2021.

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Countries will be initially designated 'very high risk' when there have been more than 50 Covid-19 cases per 1000 arrivals to New Zealand from those countries in 2021, and from where more than 15 travellers on average arrive per month.

The category also includes India, Brazil, and Pakistan.

Announcing the new category today, New Zealand's Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said it was "not an easy decision" and would be continuously reviewed.

"We have to provide a pathway for New Zealanders to come back...we would not restrict the right of New Zealanders to return home."

The Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, says the move aimed to significantly reduce the number of infected people flying to New Zealand.

Most managed isolation facilities will be moved to a group intake system, Hipkins said. This will see a MIQ facility starting empty, and then over 96 hours plane loads of people are transported to the hotel and once it's full - or after the 96 hours - the facility is locked down for two weeks.