New Zealand PM makes isolation mandatory for visitors to contain coronavirus spread

New Zealand’s PM has said nearly everyone entering the country from midnight on Sunday must self-isolate to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Jacinda Ardern said the new measure also included returning New Zealanders. The only exemption is for small Pacific islands with no confirmed virus cases.

“I make no apologies. This is an unprecedented time,” Ms Ardern said, describing the new rules as the strictest in the world.

New Zealand has six confirmed cases.

Speaking at Saturday’s news briefing, Ms Ardern said the new restrictions would be reviewed by the authorities in 16 days.

The prime minister also said that no cruise liners would be allowed to dock in New Zealand’s ports until 30 June.

But Ms Ardern said essential air and ship deliveries would continue as normal.

She said the restrictions were “about people, not products”, stressing that there was no need for New Zealanders to “take a run on their supermarket”.

“If you don’t need to travel overseas, then don’t. Enjoy your own backyard for a time. Stop handshakes, hugs and hongi [a traditional Maori greeting in which people press their noses together].

“We are a tough, resilient people. We have been here before,” the prime minister added.

Earlier this month, Israel announced that anyone arriving in the country would be self-quarantined for 14 days.