Coronavirus pandemic: Dozens of Kiwis say not enough being done at the border

Kiwis are infuriated with many claiming not enough is being done at the border amid the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday announced tough new measures to prevent the coronavirus outbreak establishing itself in New Zealand - meaning anyone who crosses the border must now self-isolate for two weeks.

The Government on Wednesday also urged any Kiwis abroad to get home as soon as possible.

While the new border restrictions seem tough, many say still not enough is being done.

Auckland woman Maree Glading wrote on Facebook of her experience at the airport on Wednesday morning. The post includes claims that there was no mention on the incoming plane of what was involved with self-isolation. 

"A man in front of me in the queue was from the UK, I heard him tell immigration that he was here for 2 weeks," she said.

"He then grabs a NZ tourism brochure on his way pass [sic] - something tells me he doesn’t plan to isolate! The whole process is a joke!"

Gliding's post was sent to Newshub by dozens of Kiwis - some of whom saying they had similar experiences.

That's despite the Government saying all travellers arriving in New Zealand will "continue to be risk assessed and screened". It's also urged people to practise social distancing as much as possible.

"We’ve been advised by the government to keep a social distancing of 1.5m. However, what’s the point when NZ customs has international travellers packed in like a tin of sardines? And with no testing or temperature check upon arrival - it seems we’re putting our energy into all the wrong domains," one woman said in a Facebook message to Newshub.

Despite the claims, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told The AM Show on Thursday he has confidence in the process.

Asked about the claims, Dr Bloomfield said, "That surprises me.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: Getty/The Am Show

"I do know that as people go through the border, there is a whole lot happening all at once and people are thinking about different things - the expectation of self-isolation is really clear to any passenger coming in," he told The AM Show.

What other countries are doing

On Thursday morning (NZ time), the US-Canada border shut to "non-essential" traffic.

US President Donald Trump said he would also invoke another law that would allow authorities to turn back migrants seeking to cross the southern border of the country illegally.

A US ban on entry for most people from continental Europe started on Friday (local time).

Similarly to New Zealand, anyone travelling to Taiwan from mainland Europe, the UK, and Ireland were required to self-isolate for 14 days from Sunday.

The day after New Zealand announced its restrictions, Australia followed suit.

On Tuesday, the European Union agreed to close the external borders of most of its countries for 30 days.


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