New Zealand sorry for India Twitter ask

·2-min read

New Zealand has apologised for using Twitter to source oxygen tanks for a critically ill worker at its High Commission in New Delhi.

India is currently suffering through a pronounced wave of COVID-19, with the NZ High Commission in lockdown.

NZ's foreign affairs ministry says several locally-based employees - but no diplomatic staff from New Zealand - have caught the deadly virus.

The desperation around one case, who is seriously unwell, prompted the appeal on Twitter.

On Sunday, the official @NZInIndia account tweeted to the youth wing of an opposition political party saying "Could you please help with oxygen cylinder urgently at the New Zealand High Commission? Thank you".

Local politician Srinivas BV responded to the tweet, bringing oxygen tanks to the door of the High Commission only to find them closed.

"Please open the gates and save a soul on time," Mr Srinivas tweeted.

In a subsequent video posted by Mr Srinivas, the High Commission is then shown accepting two tanks.

New Zealand has since been criticised for stockpiling oxygen, and receiving benefical treatment compared with the thousands of others who are catching COVID-19 on a daily basis in India.

On Monday morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the High Commission had used an improper way to source the life-saving gas.

"They should have been using the normal channels and protocols," she said.

High Commissioner David Pine has made an apology to the Indian government for the blunder.

The High Commission has since deleted the post, saying it was made "in error", and replaced it with an apology.

"We are trying all sources to arrange for oxygen cylinders urgently and our appeal has unfortunately been misinterpreted, for which we are sorry," it read.

Last month, New Zealand placed a suspension on international travellers from India - including its own citizens - because of its soaring infection rates.

It then re-classified India within a new "very high risk" category, which restricts means that only Kiwi citizens and their immediate family members are able to travel to New Zealand..

Pakistan, Brazil and Papua New Guinea have also been graded as "very high risk" countries.