Thursday, April 08, 2021

Explained: New Zealand bans travellers from India. Will other countries follow?

With India seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases, the imposition of fresh international travel restrictions on flights from the country is increasingly becoming a reality.

On Thursday, New Zealand announced it was suspending entry of travellers from India, including its own citizens. The suspension will take effect from April 11 and will be in place till April 28, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a news conference in Wellington.

According to Reuters, the move comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border on Thursday, of which 17 were from India. Within its borders, the South Pacific nation has virtually eliminated the coronavirus, having not reported any locally transmitted cases for about 40 days. But it’s been reviewing its border settings as more people with infections arrive in New Zealand recently, majority being from India, the news agency reported. Ardern said the rolling average of positive cases has been steadily rising and hit seven cases on Wednesday, the highest since last October.

Currently, most of the countries to where flights operate from India are either repatriation flights being operated by a particular country or are flights operating under the air bubble arrangement. As of date, India has air bubble arrangements with 27 countries including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Qatar, and the UAE.

While it is not clear yet whether these countries will ban travellers from India, the rising number of Covid-19 cases had been one of the key reasons behind jurisdictions restricting entry at their borders. It’s not just New Zealand that has seen a rise in cases because of passengers arriving from India. Several other countries have reported many Covid-19 passengers arriving in flights that originated in India.

08/04/21 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

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