Coronavirus: No one denied entry at New Zealand border for refusing to self-isolate, having inadequate plans

Immigration New Zealand has not barred anyone from entering the country at the border for refusing to self-isolate or not having a proper plan to do so.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that anyone entering Aotearoa would be required to self-isolate for 14 days to combat the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. Measures ramped up on Thursday when Ardern closed New Zealand's borders to everyone but citizens, residents and their close family.

In announcing the border closure, Ardern said she was "increasingly concerned that visitors to the country either may not be able to adequately self-isolate for 14 days or chose not to and that is an unacceptable risk that we must eliminate."

Within hours of the self-isolation restrictions coming into force at midnight on Sunday, Newshub learned of several foreigners saying they wouldn't self-isolate. Two have since been taken into custody by police and made liable for deportation

Others Newshub has heard from, including the manager of an Auckland hostel, suggest some people entering New Zealand aren't aware of the new rules. 

The Director-General of Health has previously also said that travellers will be turned around if their self-isolation rules are not up to standard. 

"Now we have health staff at the border before the Immigration and Customs desk, and they are looking at the health declaration of every person coming in and quizzing them about their plans for self-isolation," Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

"And if they are not convinced that the person has concrete plans, or if the person is objecting to self-isolation... we have either police staff or Customs officials there who can make a decision about whether that person gets let into the country in the first place."

He's also said: "[Travellers] need to be able to demonstrate... what their arrangements are for self-isolation and have some evidence to demonstrate that that is the case.

"If we are not satisfied that is the case, then we will facilitate them making arrangements to fly back to where they came from."

However, according to Nicola Hogg, Immigration New Zealand general manager for visa and border operations, that has yet to need to happen.

"No passengers have been refused entry at the New Zealand border for refusing to self-isolate or having in-adequate self-isolation plans," she told Newshub.

"INZ border staff have interacted with several passengers referred to us by the Ministry of Health and Customs or identified by our own screening. When this has occurred all have confirmed they will meet the health instructions for self-isolation and this is verified with accommodation providers or family in New Zealand."

Since a ban came into place on February 2 stopping entry for non-citizens or residents coming to New Zealand from China - a measure later extended to Iran - 232 people have been prevented from boarding flights to Aotearoa. A further 19 have been refused entry when they arrived at the border.

Immigration NZ says all people coming to the country are made aware of self-isolation requirements before boarding their flights here as well as during an in-flight announcement before landing. Once in New Zealand, travellers must sign a health declaration form and highlight if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.