Coronavirus: National backs lifting of India travel ban

The National Party doesn't think New Zealand needs to match Australia's travel ban from India.

Australia announced on Tuesday it would suspend all direct flights from India until May 15 and place restrictions on some indirect routes.

However, the New Zealand Government is sticking to its planned restrictions for those travelling from India, when the travel ban lifts today.

National's COVID-19 response spokesperson Chris Bishop said the Government had got the balance right.

"Allowing New Zealand citizens and family members to travel back under strict scrutiny, going into MIQ and with pre-departure testing, that's an appropriate response for New Zealand," he said.

Bishop said each country had a certain level of risk it could tolerate and Australia was likely to have more arrivals from India than New Zealand.

New Zealand imposed a temporary travel ban on April 11 on people arriving from India.

It came after a surge in COVID-19 cases being reported at the New Zealand border, from people who had been in India.

This was despite pre-flight testing showing the travellers did not have the virus 72 hours before leaving.

The Government last week announced a new category of a "very high risk country" - including India, Brazil, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea - to further bolster the country's defence against COVID-19.

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

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

These changes come into force at 11:59pm Wednesday.