“The Government needs to explain to New Zealanders why it isn’t following Australia in implementing a ban on travellers from mainland China”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.

There are now 259 confirmed deaths resulting from coronavirus. Australia and the United States have introduced bans on overseas travellers from mainland China. Air New Zealand has suspended flights to Shanghai.

“The Health Minister says the risk to New Zealand is low, but it’s clear he doesn’t know the full picture.

“David Clark is following the advice of the World Health Organisation, but the WHO isn’t elected to weigh the risks and benefits of continuing to accept travellers from China. That is the job of the New Zealand government.

“Clark must explain why his government continues to allow flights to arrive.

“If coronavirus were to have originated elsewhere in the world, the Chinese government wouldn’t hesitate to stop flights from arriving. In fact, Beijing is preventing tour groups from heading overseas and is restricting travel to the capital.

“Our government must consider taking similar steps to Australia and the US, or tell New Zealanders why it won’t do so.

“Why should we risk the lives of New Zealanders for the sake of the convenience of overseas travellers? What is the point of having a government if it won’t take serious measures to prevent a deadly virus from entering the country?”

“The Government must take a precautionary approach and consider stopping all flights from China until it knows more.”