AUSTRALIA and New Zealand are closing their borders to foreigners in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Australia has recorded around 600 coronavirus infections and six deaths, a relatively small number compared to other countries, but officials are growing increasingly concerned about the prospect of an exponential rise in cases.
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Australia has recorded around 600 coronavirus infections and six deathsCredit: Getty – Contributor
With the majority of the cases originating overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday all non-Australian residents would be barred from entering the country from 9pm (10am GMT) today.
In neighbouring New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the same measure almost simultaneously, with the ban on foreign arrivals there beginning last night.
New Zealand closed its borders to all foreigners from midnight (11am GMT), as it stepped up efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference that citizens and permanent residents can still return, but their options are running out as many commercial airlines are cancelling flights.
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Ardern said: “I’m not willing to tolerate risk at our borders, today’s decision stops any tourist, or temporary visa holder such as students or temporary workers, from coming to and entering into New Zealand.”
New Zealand so far has 28 cases of coronavirus infection, but no deaths.
Globally, total infections have crossed the 200,000 mark while more than 8,000 people have died.
Ardern said New Zealanders partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with them may return. She also said people who have already boarded and on their way will still be able to land.