New Zealand heightens to Alert 4 to fight Covid-19

New Zealand heightens to Alert 4 to fight Covid-19

Supplied Content
Wellington, March 23, 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing the heightened Covid-19 alert at a media conference in Wellington today with Finance Minister Grant Robertson (Screenshot of Video).

Standfirst: Indian Newslink will do follow-up stories on the extraordinary situation of ‘Self-Isolation of the Nation’ and lockdown that will become effective at midnight on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. All supermarkets, superettes, pharmacies, food production people and supply chains, medical services will remain open even during the lockdown period. Following is the Statement issued by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today.

The Highlights
New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict
New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours
Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare
Level 3, from tomorrow
Non-essential businesses must close
All events and gatherings must be cancelled
Schools will only open for children of essential workers. They will close completely when we move to Level 4
Workplaces must implement alternative working with everyone who can to work from home
No discretionary domestic air travel between regions
Public transport for people undertaking essential services and transport of freight only

Response to Covid-19 
New Zealand has moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict, for the next 48 hours before moving into Level 4 – Eliminate, as New Zealand escalates its response to stop the virus in its tracks.

Due to the early and strong steps that we have taken, New Zealand is fortunate not to be as hard-hit by the virus as other countries but the trajectory is clear. We are under attack like the rest of the world and must unite to stop the worst from happening here.

If community transmission takes off in New Zealand the number of cases will double every five days. If that happens unchecked, our health system will be inundated, and thousands of New Zealanders will die.

Together we can stop that from happening and our plan is simple. We can stop the spread by staying home and reducing contact.

Moving to Level 3, then 4, will place the most significant restrictions on our people in modern history but they are a necessary sacrifice to save lives.

At Level 3, we are asking non-essential businesses to close. This includes bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries and other places where people gather together.

Essential services open

Essential services will remain open, such as supermarkets, banks, GPs, pharmacies, service stations, couriers and other important frontline service providers. 

Gatherings, indoors or out, and of any shape or size, must be cancelled. This means weddings, birthday celebrations and other gatherings.

Workplaces should have everyone working from home. Essential services will stay open at every level, but must put in place alternative ways of working including physical distancing of staff of two metres.

Schools to close

Schools will be closed from tomorrow, except to children of essential workers who still need to go to work each day including doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police. This will be temporary, and schools will close entirely from midnight Wednesday. The school term break will be brought forward. For the remainder of this week and through the term break schools will establish ways to deliver teaching online and remotely as quickly as they can.

Public transport restricted

Public transport and regional air travel is restricted to those involved in essential services and freight, with domestic air travel permitted in some cases for people to leave the country and to get home to self-isolate. Private travel is allowed.


I say to all New Zealanders: The Government will do all it can to protect you. Now I am asking you to do everything you can to protect all of us. Kiwis – go home.

“Today, get your neighbour’s phone number, set up a community group chat, get your gear to work from home, cancel social gatherings of any size or shape, prepare to walk around the block while keeping a two-metre distance between you.

If in doubt, don’t go out.

These measures will be in place for four weeks at this point.

Fighting the pandemic

New Zealand is fighting an unprecedented global pandemic and it will take a collective effort of every single New Zealander doing the right thing to give us our best shot at curtailing community outbreak.

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