Leaders slam New Zealand Prime Minister’s ban on travellers from India

Leaders have started questioning the decision of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government to temporarily halt the travel from India.

Jacinda Ardern on April 8 announced that New Zealand would temporarily suspend entry for all travellers from India.

This includes its New Zealand’s citizens for two weeks from April 11 after India appeared to be gripped in the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with cases suddenly soaring.

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Leaders believe that this could possibly lead to or may promote racism and stigma against the Indian community in New Zealand.

According to a report in the Guardian report, Sunil Kaushal, president of the Waitakere Indian Association has questioned why the New Zealand government applied the rule to India.

“We don’t feel like a part of the ‘team of 5 million’ when Indians are singled out like this.”

He asked why not nations such as United States, Brazil, France and the UK who when compared novel coronavirus cases per-capita are way ahead than India.

Member of Parliament Golriz Ghahraman (Green Party) also took this opportunity to post a question on Twitter for Jacinda Ardern.

Mandeep Bela, of the Indian Workers Association, said that the restriction implies that New Zealand citizens in India had been “left stateless”.

“It’s quite shocking, to be honest. Since Covid started, we were told that New Zealand cannot shut its borders to its citizens, regardless of where they are, how many cases there are – they cannot stop them coming back to the country.”

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New Zealand has recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border facilities as of Thursday, of which 17 were from India. 

On this Prime Minister of New Zealnd has said:

“If that number of people from any country were coming in with Covid that would give us cause to pause and look at mitigation to reduce that risk, so this is not country-specific, this is about the cases we are seeing currently from that region.”

The NZ Council for Civil Liberties said:

“While we recognise that the practicalities of managing an infectious disease can justify a limitation of this right, we also question whether the government has put in enough effort to avoid having to take this step.”