Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern's plan to protect Pacific Islands from COVID-19

Jacinda Ardern has announced tough new border protection policies aimed at saving our Pacific neighbours from the deadly COVID-19 disease.

Following her COVID-19 Cabinet committee meeting on Saturday, the Prime Minister said New Zealand has a responsibility to look after the Pacific Islands.

"We take very seriously our duty of care," she said.

"As such, strict new border exit measures for people travelling to the Pacific will be put in place.

"These include: No travel for people who have travelled outside of New Zealand in the past 14-days. No travel for close or casual contacts of a confirmed case. No travel for anyone who is symptomatic, and health assessments, including temperature checks."

She also said Cabinet had approved "far-reaching and unprecedented decisions" to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

"Cabinet made far-reaching and unprecedented decisions today because these are unprecedented circumstances. As of midnight Sunday every person entering New Zealand, including returning New Zealand citizens and residents, will be required to enter self-isolation for 14 days - everybody," she said.

"The Pacific are exempted from this measure, they are the only ones. Anyone from this country though will be required to automatically self-isolate should they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms on arrival in New Zealand. All of these restrictions will be reviewed in 16 days' time.

"This decision will mean New Zealand will have the widest-ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world. We are also encouraging New Zealanders to avoid all non-essential travel overseas - this helps reduce the risk of a New Zealander bringing COVID-19 in."

Some have questioned whether Australia was part of the Pacific Islands exemption. However, Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace has said the restrictions do apply to our neighbour across the Tasman.