New Zealand extends ban on China arrivals; no curbs yet for other nations

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New Zealand has extended for eight days a ban on arrivals from mainland China, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, carrying into its fourth week an effort to block exposure to the coronavirus.

Fears mounted that the outbreak would grow into a pandemic with disruptive and deadly consequences for the rest of the world following sharp rises in infections in Iran, Italy and South Korea.

But New Zealand has no plans for now to widen the ban to other countries, Ardern told a news conference, adding, “We continue to focus on the epicenter of outbreak”.

Ardern added that it was highly likely the virus would eventually arrive in New Zealand, although it has no confirmed infections.

New Zealand’s exports to largest trading partner China have taken a major hit, with everything from timber to meat and fruit facing delays and cancellations.

By Sunday, the epidemic had killed 2,592 people with 77,150 infections on the mainland.

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