Updated: 14 February 2020
The New Zealand Ministry of Health has issued new advice on the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a flu-like virus. Like the flu, it can have a significant impact on people who contract it, particularly those who are old/fragile or have a compromised immune system (such as newborns and infants).
- This new type of coronavirus was initially linked to a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan City, in China’s Hubei Province.
- The majority of reported cases are in the Wuhan region, however, there are also cases that have been identified in parts of Asia, the US and Australia.
- A majority of the deaths have occurred where people were previously unwell, frail or suffering from pre-existing illnesses.
- Following advice from the World Health Organization, parts of China have been placed in lockdown. Nearly 60 million people have been affected by partial or full lockdowns in Chinese cities as the country's government steps up its response.
- Since Thursday 23 January all inbound and outbound rail, long-distance bus, air, and ferry travel from Wuhan has been prohibited indefinitely.
- The impact of the coronavirus is not limited to Hubei province - authorities have also shut major tourist sites including the Forbidden City in Beijing and a section of the Great Wall. The Disneyland Resorts in both Shanghai and Hong Kong have been closed temporarily.
New Zealand Updates:
On Sunday 02 February 2020 the Government announced it is placing temporary entry restrictions into New Zealand on all foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China to assist with the containment of the novel coronavirus and to protect New Zealand and the Pacific Islands from the disease.
- The New Zealand Government and other national governments have placed restrictions around travel to and through China. SafeTravel has been updated to advise New Zealand Citizens to not travel to China - more information here.
- Any foreign travellers who leave or transit through mainland China after February 2, 2020 (NZ time) will be refused entry to New Zealand.
- Any foreign travellers in transit to New Zealand on February 2, 2020 will be subject to enhanced screening on arrival but, pending clearance, will be granted entry to New Zealand.
- New Zealand citizens and permanent residents returning to New Zealand will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members, but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival back in the country.
- Australia are enforcing very similar legislation to New Zealand, please be aware for passengers travelling to or through Australia - you can find more information on Smart Traveller here.
- Australia has upgraded its travel advice in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak to include all of mainland China to level four, "do not travel".
- Papua New Guinea’s Ministry for Immigration and Border Security has issued a statement outlining the country’s Refusal of Entry for Travellers from Asian Ports, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. All nationalities in Wuhan and Hubei Province will be refused entry to PNG until further notice. Anyone who has been in any part of China in the 14 days prior to the statement date of 30 January 2020 will be refused entry until they have been “medically cleared by a reputable clinic and hospital-based on WHO standards.”
- Samoa has also announced travel restrictions - if you’re travelling from a country specified by the Samoan authorities, including Australia, you will require medical clearance at least 3 days prior to travel to Samoa.
- Vanuatu has enforced that all Passengers travelling to Vanuatu must complete enhanced screening.
- The Philippine Government has placed restrictions on travel from China and has included Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in this restriction - you can find more information on the Cathay Pacific website here.
- Niue is restricting entry for travellers who have visited China.
Many countries now have restrictions similar to what New Zealand has implemented. We recommend you check immigration policies or contact your dedicated Travel Expert if you are concerned.
- Air New Zealand has temporarily suspended services out Shanghai from 9th February to 29th March.
- Qantas has announced it's suspended their two direct services between mainland China and Australia (Sydney-Beijing and Sydney-Shanghai) from 9 February until 29 March 2020, due to the entry restrictions imposed by countries including Singapore and the United States.
- Air New Zealand recommends that due to the newly imposed travel restrictions and airport processing times, customers travelling on international flights departing from 9:00am arrive 4 hours prior to departure.
Safe Travel's current advice level is to reconsider your need to travel to China, and do not travel to Hubei Province.
The World Health Organization is closely monitoring the situation as it rapidly evolves. We will update with more information as it comes to hand.