21 Jun 2020

Foreign Affairs supported more than 100 repatriation flights in past two months

3:06 pm on 21 June 2020

The government has helped get more than 3200 people get home from 40 different countries since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold across the world.

New Zealanders line up for the repatriation flight from New Delhi, India on 24 April, 2020.

New Zealanders line up for the repatriation flight from New Delhi, India on 24 April. Photo: Supplied / Kharag Singh

Over the last couple of months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has supported 109 repatriation flights.

Some of those flights have been organised by the government, but in other cases New Zealanders have been able to piggyback on flights arranged by other governments.

The repatriation flights have got people home from Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea, Laos, Liberia, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have returned home since March, most of them on commercial flights.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there were still 23,374 registered on the Safe Travel website as being overseas.

The government has previously put the cost of repatriating New Zealanders stranded in high-risk countries at up to $14 million.

It expected there could be demand from several thousand New Zealanders for mercy flights, and with limited resources, it had to come up with a priority list of countries.

It said it would be made clear to those in low risk countries that repatriation flights would not be organised and they should use commercial options.

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