This story by RNZ.co.nz is republished under Kaniva Tonga partnership agreement with Radio New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Covid-19 alert level has risen to three and the country will go into a full lockdown in 48 hours, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed.
After 48 hours, the time required to ensure essential services are in place, and the country will move to level four and will remain at that level for four weeks, Ardern said.
The country now has 102 confirmed Covid-19 cases and the Minsitry of Health says the virus is spreading in the community.
Ardern warned the lockdown could be extended for longer if the spread of the virus was not brought under control.
“This will literally save lives, thousands of lives.”
She said all of NZ must prepare to go in self-isolation now to “break the chain” of community transmission.
Schools will be closed from tomorrow.
Watch the media conference here:
Meanwhile, RNZ understands that today Cabinet has been looking at more support for businesses to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including lifting the lid on wage subsidies.
Cabinet met this morning and half the 20 ministers called in via video conferencing to maintain some physical distance.
At present, under the government’s $12.1 billion economic bail-out package announced last week, firms eligible for support are to be paid $585.50 per week for full-time staff, and $350 for part-time staff.
Payments are capped at $150,000 per business and paid in one lump sum for up to 12 weeks.
Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus: