New Zealand: Coronavirus

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 8th April 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support UK citizens who are seeking to return to the UK from New Zealand who are affected by that country's lockdown due to COVID-19.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State

The Foreign Secretary announced on 30 March a new partnership between the Government and airlines to fly home more stranded British travelers, where commercial routes do not exist. The Government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights to priority countries, operated by airlines including Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2, Titan and British Airways. This service has already begun, with flights from Peru, Senegal, UAE, Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia as of 6th April.

The British Government is working around the clock to support British Nationals as we respond to this global pandemic. The British High Commission in Wellington has established an online registration system, allowing High Commission staff to track and directly communicate with British Nationals in need of assistance, in particular the most vulnerable. This includes regular updates through email and on social media platforms. There has been an extensive drawdown of commercial flights out of New Zealand to regional hubs, reducing significantly the options for British Nationals to depart New Zealand. We are engaging commercial airlines and international governments, encouraging them to keep commercial routes open, in particular in transit hubs.

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