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PM's Press Conference - Cabinet extends cruise ship ban, mandatory tests for travellers

The government is extending a ban on cruise ships and updating its health order to make clear that travellers may be required to take multiple tests, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

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Ardern said the government has renewed its health order, which had been due to expire at midnight tonight, and included a new measure to clarify that incoming people must return a negative test before leaving quarantine, and may be required to take multiple tests.

The order also extended the cruise ship ban beyond 30 June.

There are exceptions to the ban, including for cargo vessels to load and unload and fishing vessels to unload and resupply.

However, any crew arriving in New Zealand would need to spend 14 days in quarantine in New Zealand unless they had been on the boat for 28 days prior to arriving. This is a tightening of the current rules, she said.

"Overall, you can see, that we are continuing to assure ourselves and the New Zealand community that we are doing everything it takes to maintain our priveleged position that every New Zealander has worked so hard for whilst the world enters into a phase where this pandemic grows, not slows."

A week ago there were no reported cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand. Today, there are nine. All confirmed cases are people who were staying in managed isolation after arriving in the country, although the first two revealed on Tuesday were sisters who had been granted a compassionate exemption to leave and travel to Wellington due to their parent's death.

Ardern has come under pressure in recent days over the incident and other examples of laxness in management of the border. She has rejected any personal responsibility over it and has fought back against claims the mishandling will hit growth and cost jobs.

This afternoon she said New Zealand was seeing more cases at the border because more people were coming home and the pandemic was growing, and some of the flights were arriving from hot spots.

The WHO had called the rapid spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus a "dangerous new phase", Ardern said.

"While the world enters this dangerous new phase we remain in a phase of border containment."

She said all the new cases since New Zealand dropped to zero active cases last month were not cases of community transmission, which was why the government was focusing on ensuring safety at the borders.

Ardern was joined by Minister Megan Woods, who took over management of managed isolation facilities last week.

Ardern said Woods had updated Cabinet on the work she had done with Air Commodore Digby Webb to review and continue to manage the facilities.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced today there were two new confirmed cases, both in Auckland.

One was a teenage girl whose only symptom was a runny nose, and the other was a man in his 30s who had no symptoms.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

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