New Zealand PM Ardern declares national emergency as country reports 47 new coronavirus cases
25 March, 2020, 17:26
The number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand rose to 205, authorities announced earlier in the day.
'[It will] ensure the government has all the powers it needs to slow the spread of Covid-19 and reduce its impact, ' she said.
This becomes available if the prime minister issues an epidemic notice, should she be satisfied that a designated quarantinable infectious disease is ' likely to disrupt ' or continue to disrupt essential governmental and business activity in New Zealand significantly. All are stable, none in ICU.
New Zealand will enter a nationwide lockdown beginning at midnight on Wednesday. The vast majority of these cases are linked to overseas travel or other confirmed cases, but four are considered community transmission and "a number of cases we are investigating are also suspected to be community transmission", the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.
This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.
"I would ask them to contact our consulate offices for assistance and updated information", she said.
Refusal to comply with these rules may result in up to three months in jail, and/or a NZ$5,000 fine for an individual or NZ$50,000 for a corporate.
This is only the second time in New Zealand's history that a national emergency has been declared, with the first one on February 23, 2011, after a 6.3 magnitude quake struck the South Island city of Christchurch, killing nearly 200.
He said New Zealand will see a rise in cases for the next 10 days, from people infected before today. Ardern strictly made clear that if people had any questions about what they can or can't do, they had to apply a simple principle: Act like they have COVID-19, she declared.
Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, today's State of National Emergency declaration allows the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management to direct and coordinate personnel, material and other resources, and provides access to other extra-ordinary powers that will support delivery of an effective and timely response to COVID-19.
"We are reaching a point where the best option for most New Zealanders offshore is to shelter in place, by preparing to safely stay where they are". They will have the power to stop people in public places and educate them on the need to observe the need to stay at home.
The lockdown period has been set for four weeks because it will take weeks for results to show given the lag between infection and people feeling ill.
Of the 155 total there had been 15 Covid-19 cases in the South, including two new confirmed Dunedin cases yesterday and one probable Dunedin case.