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Tim Dower: Reopening our borders to India would be absolute madness

Tim Dower: Reopening our borders to India would be absolute madness

We'll get a formal announcement on the India travel ban around midday today, although the PM's comment yesterday about leaving people stateless was a pretty strong signal.Remember, that ban was put on because we saw a surge of cases in MIQ among people who'd travelled from India.It's meant to come off next Wednesday.Now, since it went into force a couple of weeks ago, COVID has gone ballistic in India.Most recent figure available, 314,644 new cases IN A DAY, it's off the charts, more than 10 percent of ALL infections worldwide since the pandemic began have been in India.Lockdowns haven't worked.The health system is collapsing, there's no oxygen for the people that can get on a ventilator, they're running out of vaccines.Families are waiting hours to perform funeral rites, and at least one Delhi crematorium is building pyres in the car park, to cope with the numbers.It's an appalling human tragedy.This country of course has a proud record on compassion and human rights.On doing the right thing, on welcoming and sheltering people from trouble spots all over the world.And we should of course be working to maintain that.Rendering people stateless is just not our style.But you have to ask the question, how is it that a New Zealander would be in India now...more than a year after we first closed the border?Should we really let people in, that are just coming back from holiday, putting our whole country and the hard work we have done at risk?Charity begins at home, and the first duty of a government is surely to protect the citizens of its country.Reopening our border to people coming from what's arguably the most dangerous place on Earth right now might seem like the right thing, the compassionate thing to do.But right now, it would be absolute madness.

Duration: 2 min

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