New Zealand to resume refugee intake with 35 arriving in February

WION Web Team
Wellington, New Zealand Published: Feb 05, 2021, 07:25 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in New Zealand Photograph:( AFP )

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'With health protocols in place and safe travel routes, we are ready to welcome small groups of refugee families as New Zealand residents to this country,' officials said

After halting the refugee intake for nearly a year, New Zealand said it will start receiving refugees again from this month.

The island-country had shut the refugee intake for nearly a year to stop the possible spread of the deadly coronavirus.

On Friday, the Jacinda Ardern-led government announced they will be resuming the refugee intake now, with the first group arriving soon.

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The first group will be of 35 refugees, who will be arriving in February itself and nearly 210 refugees coming to the country by the end of June, Immigration New Zealand officials reported.

"With health protocols in place and safe travel routes, we are ready to welcome small groups of refugee families as New Zealand residents to this country, to begin their new lives," Fiona Whiteridge, general manager for refugee and migrant services at Immigration New Zealand, said in a statement.

All arriving refugees, however, will still have to complete a compulsory 14-day quarantine stay in isolation facilities which will be managed by the New Zealand government.

This decision has been appreciated by the experts who had expected an increased intake of refugees (from 1,000 per year to 1,500) from last year itself, which was not carried out due to coronavirus.

Now, the intake has resumed as New Zealand was one of the first countries to completely eliminate coronavirus from within their borders and continues to be a country with zero domestically-bred cases and deaths.

Till now, New Zealand has had 62 current coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 1,959, with the latest one being reported on Friday at a coronavirus quarantine facility. 

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