Jacinda Ardern Orders Four-Week Lockdown For New Zealanders
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered her country to go on a four-week lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The PM admitted that the move was harsh but necessary to prevent anymore people becoming infected.
The country has recorded 102 cases of Covid-19, which is low compared to neighbouring Australia with more than 1,600.
But Ms Ardern says it's better to introduce harsh measures now rather than watch the number of cases skyrocket over time.
"The worst-case scenario is simply intolerable, it would represent the greatest loss of New Zealanders' lives in our history and I will not take that chance," the Prime Minister said.
"I have a very keen sense of the magnitude of this moment in New Zealand's history and we did not take this decision lightly.
"But we all absolutely believe this is the right thing to do. If community transmission takes off in New Zealand the number of cases will double every five days.
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"If that happens unchecked, our health system will be inundated, and thousands of New Zealanders will die."
New Zealand will move into Alert Level Three immediately before it would hit Level Four - the highest level - on Wednesday (25 March) at 11.59pm.
Schools, universities and childcare centres will close from tomorrow, all non-essential industries and services will be closed and citizens will have to stay home unless it's absolutely necessary.
People will be allowed outside for exercise as long as they are on their own and citizens are encouraged only to interact with people they are in isolation with.
Ms Ardern added: "I say to all New Zealanders: the government will do all it can to protect you. Now I'm asking you to do everything you can to protect all of us. Kiwis - go home.
"I do not underestimate what I'm asking New Zealanders to do, I know it's huge.
"This will literally save lives, thousands of lives."
The Prime Minister has asked people to be considerate when doing their shopping ahead of the lockdown.
Ms Ardern insisted that supermarkets will remain open during the four-week shutdown and there are plenty of supplies to go around as long as everyone shops normally.
Featured Image Credit: PA