WELLINGTON: New Zealand on Thursday (Mar 19) advised its citizens not to travel overseas due to the risks posed by the coronavirus.
"We are raising our travel advice to the highest level: Do not travel," Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.
"This is the first time the New Zealand Government has advised New Zealanders against travelling anywhere overseas. That reflects the seriousness of the situation we are facing with COVID-19," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, New Zealand confirmed eight new cases of coronavirus linked to overseas travel, taking the total number of infections in the country to 28.
New Zealand implemented tough border restrictions on Saturday asking everyone arriving in the country to self-isolate, and has banned big public gatherings to control the spread of the virus.
The country announced a NZ$12.1 billion (US$7.3 billion) stimulus package Tuesday to counter the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic.