The majority of a group of New Zealanders who'd been stuck in Rome without a flight home because of coronavirus travel bans are on their way home.

But two of the group who are reportedly still in Rome planning to fly home Saturday - Italy time - could face further challenges with the country tightening its borders and many flights being cancelled.

Therese Macdonald, who was in Italy on her honeymoon, told the Herald the group had been unable to leave Leonardo da Vinci International Airport because they were scheduled to stop off in Sydney on their way to Auckland.

"The issue is that the Australians have closed their borders to us, even for transit so we can't even go through on a transit flight."


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They'd been told by their touring company Tripadeal to book new flights, and seek refunds from their previous airline Etihad.

"Nobody has [the money] after paying for a 17-day tour which lasted half a day and four nights confined to our hotel. It is pretty grim," she said.

Speaking to the Herald on Saturday (NZ time), Macdonald said most of the group were now en route to Auckland after securing last-minute flights.

Macdonald and her husband Brett were with a group of about 16 travelling back via Doha with Qatar Airways, meanwhile another group was travelling through Dubai with Emirates.

They were all "very relieved" to get out of Italy.

"Italy has gone into full lockdown - it is pretty scary."

The couple arrived in Italy on March 5, two days ahead of the tour group.


The entire tour group got just half a day of touring before the nation was locked down and they have had to spend their time in confinement.

"When the tour actually arrived here we were told we couldn't go anywhere. Northern Italy was closed," Macdonald said.

"That's not Tripadeal's fault, we understand that, but at that point, they should have started sending us home and they didn't."

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the Embassy in Rome had been providing consular assistance to New Zealanders in Italy, including the travelling group.

There are 16 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Rome.

All New Zealanders overseas are encouraged to register on the SafeTravel website, where there is also information on border restrictions.