New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday told the public to behave as if they had the coronavirus and cut all physical contact outside their household when the nation enters a one-month lockdown at midnight.
Ardern declared a national state of emergency as the number of cases of COVID-19 surged by a record 50 cases to take the national tally to 205.
The government has imposed self-isolation for everyone, with all non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut for a month.
“From midnight tonight, we bunker down for four weeks to try and stop the virus in its tracks, to break the chain,” Ardern told the New Zealand parliament. “Make no mistake this will get worse before it gets better. We will have a lag and cases will increase for the next week or so. Then we’ll begin to know how successful we have been.”
At a news conference later in the day, Ardern said modeling suggested that New Zealand could have several thousand cases of COVID-19 before the numbers start coming down.
“If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do, apply a simple principle: Act like you have COVID-19,” Ardern said. “Every move you then make is a risk to someone else. That is how we must all collectively think. That’s why the joy of physically visiting other family, children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors is on hold. Because we’re all now putting each other first. And that is what we as a nation do so well.”
Major cities such as Auckland and Wellington wore a deserted look yesterday as businesses shut down, cafes closed and all offices locked their doors.
Billions of dollars in support for small businesses, workers and families has been announced and the government has promised more in the coming days.
Yesterday, it announced a six-month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having tenancies terminated.
Parents can go for a walk with their children, people can take a run near their house or drive to get groceries, but everyone must keep a 2m distance, and people might be stopped and questioned by police, Ardern said.
Victims of Australia’s catastrophic bushfires are still living in tents, garages and makeshift shelters months after the blazes ended, with efforts to rebuild their lives hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inside a small tin shed on Australia’s southeast coast, a family of six takes refuge from the cold as the southern hemisphere winter begins to bite. The structure — chock-full of toys and beds — has been home to 51-year-old Anita Lawrence and five of her children since February. She had been in Tasmania when fires ripped through the area, torching materials ready to build a new home and new life for her
PROVEN TRACK RECORD: One company official told a preflight briefing that about half of first rocket launches fail, adding: ‘History is not terribly kind’ to first flights Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit on Monday failed in its first test-launch of a new rocket carried aloft by a Boeing 747 and released over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. The inaugural launch had appeared to be going well until moments after the rocket was dropped from beneath the left wing of the jumbo jet Cosmic Girl. “We’ve confirmed a clean release from the aircraft. However, the mission terminated shortly into the flight. Cosmic Girl and our flight crew are safe and returning to base,” Virgin Orbit wrote on Twitter. There was no immediate word on what went wrong with
It is a Thursday evening in downtown Cairo, usually a crowded and noisy time as the weekend gets underway, but today the streets are quiet, and the air is noticeably clean. “It has been a long time since I breathed such fresh air here and saw the sky clean like that,” said downtown Cairo resident Fathi Ibrahim, 52. Thick pollution — from vehicles, factories and power plants — usually makes breathing a suffocating effort in the heart of the city, he said, but a lockdown to slow the COVID-19 pandemic has helped clear the smog. “We even started to listen to the sounds
The US military withdrawal from Afghanistan is considerably ahead of schedule, an official told reporters on Wednesday, as US President Donald Trump reiterated calls for the Pentagon to bring troops home. The developments came as questions loomed over the next phase of Afghanistan’s long war following a three-day ceasefire that led to a major drop in civilian casualties. The truce, which the Taliban called to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, ended on Tuesday. According to Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, civilian casualties fell by 80 percent during the ceasefire. Violence levels remained low even after the end of the ceasefire, but Afghan