COVID-19: Pope’s NZ ambassador self-isolates


Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, the apostolic nuncio to New Zealand, has self-isolated after a recent trip to Italy.

His move is in line with guidance from New Zealand authorities to help prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

On 2 March the New Zeland Government recommended that people who have been in northern Italy or the Republic of Korea (excluding airport transfer) should self-isolate for 14 days after their return.

Rugambwa arrived back in New Zealand on March 3.

Deputy head of mission and first secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Wellington, Msgr Edward Karaan said the nuncio is not ill, but he is following the guidance issued by the government.

“He just came from Italy. He is doing the normal thing, following the rules of the New Zealand government.”

“Two days ago, there was an update from the New Zealand Government regarding travellers from Italy. These are just precautionary measures,”  Karaan told NZ Catholic.

In Italy, Rugambwa visited his superiors at the Holy See and some of his friends, Msgr Karaan said.

As well as representing the Vatican State in New Zealand he is also the Nuncio for Fiji and Palau, and apostolic delegate in the Pacific Ocean.

The Archbishop was born in Western Tanzania in 1957 then ordained a priest in 1986 and Archbishop in 2010.

He previously served as secretary to the Apostolic Nuncio in Wellington, New Zealand.

Rugambwa entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1991 and has also served in Nunciatures in Panama, Republic of Congo, Pakistan Indonesia, Angola, and Honduras.

For a period of time, he was also Under Secretary of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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