An Indonesian couple are anxiously trying to find out whether the Government will extend visas further for people whose home countries are losing the battle against Covid-19.

But there are currently no plans to extend visas for tourists, the Immigration Minister's office has confirmed.

Linda Irianto and her husband arrived in New Zealand in February for a trip that was part business, part visit to their two children.

They were due to fly home to Indonesia in March, but their flight was cancelled by Singapore Airlines as the pandemic began to build momentum, and the couple found themselves stuck in New Zealand when lockdown hit.


Now the pair are hoping the Government will let them stay longer, fearing they will catch the virus and potentially die from it if they return home.

Indonesia is currently reporting 1500 new cases daily, and the death rate is nearly 5 per cent. Of the country's 78,500 cases, there have been 3700 deaths.

Irianto said they were "nervous and scared" about returning home.

"It's not clear what happens to our visas ... we really want to be able to stay here and wait. This is the only place that we can do it safely."

Irianto's sister and brother in law contracted coronavirus last week and are now in hospital, she said.

The situation back home was getting "worse and worse each day".

Linda Irianto and Gunawan Widjaja want to stay in New Zealand rather than go home where there are currently 1500 new coronavirus cases daily. Photo / Supplied
Linda Irianto and Gunawan Widjaja want to stay in New Zealand rather than go home where there are currently 1500 new coronavirus cases daily. Photo / Supplied

If the couple are forced to return home, they must fly into Jakarta then travel back to their city Surabaya, because flights do not go directly there.

Irianto said there was a "high risk" of catching the virus during the journey, and there was no social distancing to speak of back home.


In a statement, Minister for Immigration Ian Lees-Galloway said the Government had recently extended temporary work visas, affecting 16,500 workers.

But there are no plans to extend visas for other visitors.

The Government made an initial extension of three months to visitor visas which are due to expire in late September.

A spokeswoman for Immigration New Zealand said anyone worried about returning home should try to apply for another visa or get in touch with Immigration for advice.

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In May, Immigration confirmed there were still 50,000 tourists in New Zealand.

Figures released to the Herald show, as of May 27, there were 53,244 temporary visitors in the country, excluding Australians.


These were people in New Zealand on a visitor visa, which allows them to stay for up to nine months but does not allow them to work. The figure also includes people travelling to New Zealand on a visa waiver agreement.

The number is about 20,000 fewer than the same time last year.

United States couple Brooke and Buddy were two of the 50,000, and said they were grateful to be in New Zealand during the pandemic as America's death toll continued to climb.

The healthcare system in the US was a major factor in their decision to stay here during the lockdown.

"Every single friend and family member we spoke with just told us to stay in New Zealand ... we are really glad that we stayed," Brooke said.