Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, just hours after the Reserve Bank cut official interest rates to a record low of 0.25 per cent.
“We believe it is essential to take a further step to ensure we are now no longer allowing anyone, unless they are a citizen or resident or direct family member [to enter Australia]” he said.
Morrison said he has made the move because 80 per cent of Australia’s coronavirus cases have come in from abroad.
Meanwhile, Jacinda Ardern also announced the lockdown on non-residents Thursday evening, with partners and children of citizens or permanent residents exempt from the ban, as well as some health workers and humanitarian workers. The law also extends to the Pacific Islands.
“I’m not willing to have risks here, and that’s why we’re making this decision tonight,” said Ardern.
She said the new measures follow a number of tourists refusing to self-isolate.
“I’ve been increasingly concerned visitors to New Zealand are not adequately self-isolating,” she said.
“That is an unacceptable risk that we must end.”
New Zealand’s ban will be in place from midnight on Thursday, while Australia’s ban will be effective from 9pm on Friday.