Jacinda Ardern announces a state of emergency in New Zealand ahead of a nationwide month-long lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus
- New Zealand will enter a nationwide lockdown at midnight for at least four weeks
- A state of emergency was declared in the country on Wednesday afternoon
- Legislation will keep the state of emergency going for at least seven days
- Jacinda Ardern said the drastic measures are necessary to prevent the virus
- New Zealand’s confirmed coronavirus cases soared by 50 overnight to 205
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A state of emergency has been declared in New Zealand, as the country prepares to enter a month-long lockdown.
The announcement comes after New Zealand’s confirmed coronavirus cases soared overnight to 205.
The state of emergency was declared by the Minister for Civil Defence Peeni Henare on Wednesday afternoon.
New Zealand will enter a nationwide lockdown beginning at midnight on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Kiwis should not be alarmed to see COVID-19 cases jump further still.
‘I wouldn’t expect us to see a slowdown any sooner than 10 to 12 days… it will get worse before they will get better,’ she said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the state of emergency and the month-long lockdown is necessary to prevent coronavirus from spreading further
New Zealand will enter a nationwide lockdown beginning at midnight on Wednesday. Pictured: Customers queue to enter a supermarket in Christchurch today
‘There is a lag (between) the transmission and the manifestation of COVID-19 symptoms.
‘Over the next few weeks cases will go up, particularly as we have New Zealanders returning home (who) still represent the vast majority of cases.’
Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black said the emergency was declared due to the ‘unprecedented nature of this global pandemic’.
‘[It will] ensure the government has all the powers it needs to slow the spread of Covid-19 and reduce its impact,’ she said.
Ms Stuart-Black said the declaration enables powers to close roads and ban people from certain activities.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Kiwis should not be alarmed to see COVID-19 cases jump further still. Pictured: Hospital staff talk to arrivals at Wellington Hospital
‘Each of you has a role in helping to save a life,’ she said.
Kiwis will be notified by a text message between 6pm and 7pm tonight.
Legislation will keep the state of emergency in place for seven days, but it can be extended.
‘We’re really hoping people have heard the messages and understand how horrendous this could get,’ Ms Stuart-Black said.
‘We have emergency services available now, the police would have the powers necessary.’
The New Zealand government is contemplating mercy flights for Kiwis who can’t get home as global airport hubs shut down.
On Wednesday, Parliament will return for a single sitting day to table an epidemic notice, required to grant powers to enforce the shutdown.
The parliament won’t sit again until April 28 at the earliest.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said coronavirus was ‘as serious’ a threat as Hitler’s Germany, the great depression, and natural disaster.
‘We have a plan to defeat this invisible enemy and we will emerge a stronger people,’ he said.
Mr Peters, who at 74 is in a high-risk group, is working from his Auckland home during the lockdown while Ms Ardern has relocated to Wellington.
Kiwis will be notified of the lockdown by a text message between 6pm and 7pm tonight. Pictured: A store staff member allows customers to enter a department store in Christchurch