Published on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

New Zealand to be closed to UK visitors 'for a long time to come'

New Zealand will not be open to tourists from the rest of the world for 'a long time to come', says its Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

While she hasn't specified how long the country expects to keep its borders closed, Ardern suggested they wouldn't open to UK visitors any time soon.

However, New Zealand and Australia - which has also closed its borders to foreigners - are looking at visitors being allowed to go between both their countries without quarantine.

Ardern said New Zealand was discussing with Australia a 'bubble of sorts between us, a safe zone of travel'. 

She added: "We will not have open borders for the rest of the world for a long time to come."

Tourism is one of New Zealand's biggest industries, employing one in 10 people.

Most visitors are from Australia, followed by China, the US, and the UK.

New Zealand has had fewer than 1,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 20 deaths. Last week it eased its lockdown. Earlier today it reported no new cases of the virus for the second day in a row.

Australia - which has a population of around 25 million, five times that of New Zealand - has had almost 7,000 cases and 96 deaths.

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