New Zealand will join the list of all the countries that have announced travel restrictions for Chinese nationals due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

Foreign travelers who leave or transit China after 2 February 2020, NZ time will be refused entry to New Zealand, as the country will close its borders to any foreigner arriving from China.

“The New Zealand Government made the decision on 2 February 2020 that any foreign travelers who have left or transited through mainland China after 2 February 2020 will be denied boarding or refused entry to New Zealand,” is said in a statement of New Zealand Immigration website.

Even though there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New Zealand, citizens and permanent residents who wish to return from China are required to isolate themselves for 14 days upon returning home.

The decision to restrict travel will be in place for up to 14 days and will be reviewed every 48 hours, the New Zealand Immigration website explains.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, has also commented on the measures taken, asserting that there should be taken precautions and temporarily stop travel into the country. 

“We have been advised by health officials that while there are still a range of unknowns in the way the virus is being transmitted, we should take a precautionary approach and temporarily stop travel into New Zealand from mainland China,” Ardern’s told reporters.

According to a press relief, New Zealand is working through the impacts on the processing of visas as a result of the temporary closure of INZ’s Beijing office.

“We are working through the impacts on the processing of visas as a result of the temporary closure of INZ’s Beijing office. INZ is committed to minimizing the impact on processing times as much as possible. We will keep stakeholders and visa applicants regularly updated,” the statement says.

On the other hand, China is calling the New Zealand decision to bar foreigners who’ve travelled from or through China from entering New Zealand “disappointing”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Winston Peters said that this decision will certainly affect the economy and business between the two countries.

Peters also commented on the impact on Chinese students coming to New Zealand to study.

“China is New Zealand’s largest source of international students. More and more Chinese students have been attracted to New Zealand for its open and friendly environment,” this travel ban makes it difficult for the 20,000 Chinese students to come back to pursue their normal study.

According to Peters, the decision is unfair to students, therefore the  Chinese Consulate will pay great importance to the legitimate rights of the students, he highlights. 

However, the minister said that he did not expect China would take any action against New Zealand.

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