COVID-19: US TV host mocks NZ accent as Fox News falsely claims country has 'terrifying new' measures 'throwing people into quarantine camps'

A Fox News host has mocked New Zealand's accent and claimed the country's "terrifying new" quarantine measures are the "end of personal freedom".

Victor Hanson, from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California, told Fox's The Ingraham Angle on Wednesday that New Zealand had "thrown away personal freedom" under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Before the interview commences, host Laura Ingraham explains New Zealand has a "terrifying new response" to "rising COVID case numbers".

"They're throwing people into quarantine camps," she told viewers before the station played a four-month-old Facebook video of Ardern saying, "if someone refuses in our facilities, to be tested, they have to keep staying". 

"No leaving the camp until you're negative," Ingraham adds, mocking Ardern's accent.

But what Fox doesn't show is the Prime Minister was talking about returning New Zealanders and how they must undertake a 14-day self-isolation period in a hotel upon their arrival in the country.

In the video, posted well before the country's Auckland outbreak, Ardern goes on to explain that overseas returnees are required to be tested for COVID-19 around days three and 12 of their stays and must return a negative test before leaving.

"We've had a 73 percent increase in New Zealanders coming home since April," Ardern explains.

Laura Ingraham, Jacinda Ardern, and Victor Hanson.
Laura Ingraham, Jacinda Ardern, and Victor Hanson. Photo credit: Fox News

"The reason we're seeing an uptick in cases [at the border] is because we're seeing those cases globally."

Anyone who refuses a test will have to stay an extra 14 days in quarantine -  total of 28 days.

After Ingraham shared the story on her Twitter page, users were quick to jump to New Zealand's defence, one likening the country's response as the "correct thing to do".

"That's why they've had great success in beating the virus and keeping their economy humming along," the person responded.

"Imagine mocking one of the handful of countries that actually has had almost 100 percent control of the virus," another wrote.

"New Zealand is back to packed sports stadiums. They have made it work," a third person said. "The people aren't conflicted. They have, together, overcome this."

Returning New Zealanders, meanwhile, had previously praised the country's managed isolation facilities, although some have said the food could be better. 

"The staff have been amazing and we're really happy to be here rather than somewhere else - we could not be happier anywhere else given the circumstances," said Angela Collins, who was in isolation at Christchurch Airport's Commodore Hotel last month.

Fox's story follows a far-right UK politician on Wednesday likening New Zealand's COVID-19 response to Nazi Germany, which was also widely mocked by Kiwis

To date, New Zealand has had 1587 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins University, the US - which has recorded the most cases and deaths of any single country - has had nearly 8.9 million infections, while 227,000 people have died.

The virus is still raging out of control in the US with a new daily record of 68,767 cases on a seven-day average set on Sunday.

New Zealand has gone almost a week without community transmission.