New Zealand goes on lockdown for 'fighting chance' against virus

New Zealand goes on lockdown for 'fighting chance' against virus

New Zealand goes on lockdown for 'fighting chance' against virus

The number of coronavirus cases in New Zealand shot up to 102, more than double since Friday, as the country reported 36 new infections.

New Zealand will be in level four for a period of four weeks minimum.

Despite the relatively low numbers of cases - particularly in comparison to Australia - Ardern today moved to implement tough and concisely defined measures in a bid to curtail the spread.

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.

Ardern has announced all non-essential businesses must close within the next 48 hours, as well as schools.

"I want to say directly to employers and employees at this hard time; please take the time to work through your options", Robertson said.

According to the Employment Act 2000, the production of wine was not an essential service.

He said the government will expand its wage subsidy scheme to all affected businesses, lifting the cost to NZ$9.3 billion ($5.2 billion) from NZ$5.1 billion, to ensure all workers receive some form of income during the lockdown.

'In some respects, it is disappointing that it has come to this, ' he said.

Gregan said sauvignon blanc harvest was in the "early stage of harvest". Two of the cases are still being investigated as suspected community transmission.

Level two is Covid-19 contained but the risks are growing as more cases arise.

Bloomfield said more than 1100 lab tests were carried out on Sunday, bringing the total number of completed tests to over 7400.

"I would expect to see more cases each day". About 1-2 percent of those were coming back positive - which was comparatively low compared to other countries, suggesting our rate of testing is reasonably high, he said.

All indoor and outdoor events must also be cancelled, with the entire country going into self-isolation.

All indoor and outdoor events can not proceed which means they New Zealanders is now preparing to go into self-isolation as a nation.

Ardern says supermarkets, doctors, pharmacies, service stations, access to essential banking services will all be available throughout New Zealand at every alert level. This includes bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries and other places where people gather together.

That would give the health system a chance to cope, she said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said "We are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. but we do have a small window to get ahead of it".

Ms Ardern also announced a four tier alert system for the country over the weekend.

Community transmission had a lag time, and these measures would be in place for at least four weeks, she said.

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