AUCKLAND - New Zealand military will now run the country’s border and quarantine operations after two people who were allowed out early later tested positive for coronavirus.

Assistant chief of defence Darryn Webb will be able to use military resources and personnel, if needed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ms Ardern said that border controls must be rigorous and disciplined, and needed to have the confidence of ministers as well as all New Zealanders. She added that the two new Covid-19 cases represented "an unacceptable failure of the system".

The two women who came from the UK via Australia had not been tested on the third day of their arrival or before they left quarantine as per the government’s rules. They were granted a compassionate exemption to leave managed isolation in Auckland to visit their dying parent in Wellington.

Health Minister David Clark has temporarily suspended all exemptions after the incident.(FA)