Australia and New Zealand have taken drastic action to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Both countries have announced a blanket travel ban on non-residents, which will come into force from midnight today (19 March) in New Zealand and at 9pm local time tomorrow (20 March) for Australia.
There are exemptions for citizens, residents and their family members in both regions.
“Protecting New Zealanders from Covid-19 is our number one priority,” said Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister.
“To do that we need to slow it down. Self-isolation is key to our success and all the evidence to date is that returning New Zealanders understand the requirements for self isolation and the spot checks have demonstrated that.
“But I have been increasingly concerned that visitors to New Zealand have not necessarily adequately self-isolated for 14 days or are choosing not to, and that is an unacceptable risk that we must end.”
There have been nearly 30 confirmed cases in New Zealand, more than 568 in Australia and 220,000 around the world.
Australia prime minister Scott Morrison said since the country implemented obligatory 14-day self-isolation for visitors, inbound travel has reduced by a third.
He added: “We believe it’s now essential to take that further step to ensure that we now no longer will be allowing anyone in unless they are a citizen or a resident or a direct family member.”