The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing on local health systems, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has decided to temporarily withdraw New Zealand staff and their families from these locations for health and safety reasons.

The staff returning to New Zealand will contribute to MFAT’s critical COVID-19 response work at head office in Wellington.

The High Commission in Barbados closed 22 March and the Embassy in Yangon closed 23 March. The temporary closure of these diplomatic posts will be reviewed in a month’s time.

Consular services will continue to be provided to New Zealanders in the Caribbean and Myanmar through the Ministry’s 24/7 Consular helpline (0800 30 10 30 or +64 99 20 20 20).

We are actively working to sustain our network around the globe and we have every intention to keep the vast majority of New Zealand’s 62 diplomatic posts open. However, with the rapidly changing health, safety and security situation for staff overseas due to COVID-19, we cannot rule out other temporary closures as a result of the pandemic.

We advise all New Zealanders to cancel their overseas travel plans at this time. We encourage all New Zealanders already travelling, to register on SafeTravel (external link).

Source: Media release (external link) by the Right Honourable Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 22 March 2020