New Zealand orders quarantine for returning citizens in coronavirus battle

German tourists arrive to check in before taking a special flight for Frankfurt at Christchurch Airport in Christchurch on April 8, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 09 April 2020

New Zealand orders quarantine for returning citizens in coronavirus battle

  • The shutdown began in late March in the Pacific nation of about 5 million
  • Ardern cabinet would decide whether to extend the nationwide curbs on April 20, two days before the lockdown is set to end

SYDNEY: New Zealand will begin moving citizens to compulsory quarantine from Friday as they return from overseas, stepping up its efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus halfway through a four-week nationwide lockdown.

The shutdown began in late March in the Pacific nation of about 5 million, and a state of national emergency was declared to stifle local transmissions of the respiratory disease.

“No one goes home, everyone goes into a managed facility,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, adding that 14 days spent in a government-approved facility would be a prerequisite for all foreign travelers.

“Even one person slipping through the cracks and bringing the virus in can see an explosion in cases, as we have observed with some of our bigger clusters,” she told a media briefing in Wellington on Thursday.

Ardern added that her cabinet would decide whether to extend the nationwide curbs on April 20, two days before the lockdown is set to end.

The lockdown has reduced domestic transmissions, authorities said, with a steady fall this week in the daily rise in infections.

The tally of infections rose by 29 to stand at 1,239 on Thursday, for the lowest daily rise since March 21, a sign the epidemic could be on the retreat since the lockdown began 15 days ago. Overnight, 35 people were declared to have recovered.

New Zealand, like neighboring Australia, has fewer infections than many countries and the pace of infections in both nations has slowed dramatically in the past week.

Despite some signs of a plateau in infections, the government said it had no plans to relax the curbs over the Easter weekend and warned of hefty fines for non-essential travel then.

Police will step up activity around holiday spots during the Easter holidays, authorities said, with some roadblocks planned.


London police chief says 14 officers injured during anti-racism protests

Updated 21 min 10 sec ago

London police chief says 14 officers injured during anti-racism protests

LONDON: Fourteen police officers were injured in “shocking and completely unacceptable” assaults during anti-racism protests in central London on Saturday, London police chief Cressida Dick said on Sunday.
After a largely peaceful day, small numbers of protesters briefly clashed with mounted police on Saturday after thousands gathered to voice their anger at police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“I am deeply saddened and depressed that a minority of protesters became violent toward officers in central London yesterday evening. This led to 14 officers being injured,” Dick, who is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said in a statement.
“The number of assaults is shocking and completely unacceptable.”
The police said that 13 officers were also hurt in protests earlier in the week and a number of arrests had been made.
One officer received hospital treatment on Saturday after falling from her horse, but the police said her injuries are not life-threatening.
Further protests are planned on Sunday. Dick urged protesters to find another way to make their views heard which “does not involve coming out on the streets of London” due to the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.