New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has reportedly declared a national emergency in the country as over 47 new COVID-19 cases emerged within 24 hours. The country will go into a total lockdown for at least one month at midnight to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, she told at a news conference. New Zealand’s cases surged to 205 as the government imposed mandatory self-isolation for everyone halting all non-essential services, closing schools and offices nationwide, as per the reports.
Ardern told parliament that midnight onwards, the country bunkers down for four weeks to try and stop the virus in its tracks and to break the chain. She further added saying that the New Zealander must make no mistake that the crisis was going to get worse before it got better. The country would have a lag and cases will spike for the next week or so, she added. Only thereafter the authorities will begin to know how successful they have been, Jacinda emphasized. Arden then went on to say that the nationwide lockdown was triggered by early evidence of community transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. 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.
According to the reports, Ardern warned the citizens that the lockdown will be strictly enforced. All non-essential services, bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, playgrounds, in-dining services, are all going to be shuttered. Supermarkets, doctors, pharmacies, service stations and access to essential banking services were exempted. New Zealand government took a drastic measure to slow down the spread of contagion in its initial stages. Therefore, movement restrictions were imposed on all arriving travellers, who are being forced into self-isolation for 14-days. All indoor and outdoor gatherings were strictly banned.
This would be the second time in New Zealand’s history that a national emergency has been declared, as per the media reports. The first state of emergency was sounded on February 23, 2011, after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island city of Christchurch, claiming almost 200 New Zealander lives.