Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced an alert system for COVID-19 in an escalation of efforts to reduce the spread of the virus in New Zealand.
In an announcement to the nation today, she said “The international situation is changing rapidly and we need to clearly signpost the changes New Zealanders will be asked to make as we step up our efforts to limit the spread of the virus.
“The alert system means people can see and plan for the kinds of restrictions we may be required to put in place, which may be required rapidly.”
There are four alert levels, based on expert medical advice and international evidence.
“I am moving New Zealand to Alert Level 2, Reduce Contact. This will have a significant disruption on how we go about our daily lives but it is necessary to protect lives,” Ardern says.
There are three guidelines set out in this level.
The first is for all New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus
The second is for workplaces to implement plans to reduce person-to-person contact, including work from home where possible.
The third is for New Zealanders to limit all non-essential domestic travel.
“We need people to significantly reduce the number of interactions they have at this time and that includes visiting people in different parts of the country for non-essential reasons.”
Meanwhile, health and emergency professionals, transport and delivery staff, supermarket and food production workers and other essential people will be continuing on at their place of work at this alert level.
“I know many New Zealanders are anxious. The alert system is designed to offer certainty around future action and the ability for people to plan and prepare for any future eventuality. Please be strong, be kind and unite against COVID-19,” Ardern says.
WATCH Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement here: