Jacinda Ardern Declares State of Emergency Over Coronavirus

Date: 2020-03-26 09:19:41

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New Zealand has declared a state of emergency as it prepares to go into an unprecedented lockdown for about a month in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced the extreme measures on Wednesday saying the country “had no time to waste”.

Ardern acknowledged New Zealand had moved more quickly than other countries to implement a nationwide lockdown but said the measures would “save lives”.

Those excluded from the lockdown include people working crucial jobs, those leaving to pick up essentials like groceries, and those engaging in solitary exercise.

“I have one simple message for New Zealanders today as we head into the next four weeks, stay at home. It will break the chain of transmission and it will save lives,” Ardern said.

She also said any New Zealanders returning home from overseas who show symptoms of COVID-19 will be put in isolation at an approved facility.

The move follows several countries in Europe where countries such as Italy, Spain and the UK are currently in lockdown.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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