Ponsonby Road during lockdown (Photo: Ollie Wall)
Ponsonby Road during lockdown (Photo: Ollie Wall)

BusinessMarch 26, 2020

Covid-19 live updates, March 26: Without lockdown, 89% of NZ could be infected

Ponsonby Road during lockdown (Photo: Ollie Wall)
Ponsonby Road during lockdown (Photo: Ollie Wall)

For all The Spinoff’s latest coverage of Covid-19 see here. Read Siouxsie Wiles’s work here.

New Zealand is currently in alert level four. The country is shut down, apart from essential services. For updated official government advice, see here.

The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this work, join The Spinoff Members here.

8.00pm: The day in sum

  • We all got through day one of lockdown. Phew.
  • Finance minister Grant Robertson said that as of 9am this morning, a total of $1.5bn had been paid out under the under wage subsidy scheme to 244,887 workers.
  • The government announced community groups and other organisations that provide essential support services will receive an immediate $27m cash injection to help them stay afloat.
  • Police commissioner Mike Bush said 360 people had come through Auckland Airport this morning, with 168 of them sent to quarantine (eight because they were showing symptoms, 160 because they had no self-isolation plans).
  • Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health, announced 78 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, with 73 positive tests and five probable cases. It brings the total to 283 cases.
  • The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has pleaded guilty.
  • MediaWorks announced production on all its local entertainment shows is halted, meaning Dancing with the Stars NZ will not air in April as planned, and The Block NZ is on hold.

7.15pm: New rules for pharmaceuticals; research shows lockdown buys time

At this afternoon’s Covid-19 update, director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield announced a change to how pharmaceuticals will be dispensed to prevent stockpiling. Pharmacists will be able to dispense only one month’s supply of Pharmac-funded medicines, or three months for the oral contraceptive. They can make exceptions on a case by case basis, for example if someone lives remotely or has access issues. 

Meanwhile, research released today shows the lockdown could suppress the spread of Covid-19 by up to 400 days, but without a vaccine or cure, cases could still peak well beyond hospital capacity. The modelling, by the University of Auckland’s Te Pūnaha Matatini, was released to the government prior to the new measures being put in place. One of the researchers, Shaun Hendy, explains the modelling on The Spinoff here. The research suggests that without the lockdown, up to 89% of the population would be infected and up to 80,000 would die. It also suggests the lockdown may have to last far longer than a month to be successful, but Hendy said the current period could work as long as all measures were rigidly enforced. 

6.55pm: Nurses call for PPE; Burger King staff still don’t know if they’ll be paid during lockdown

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation is calling for all hospital and primary care nurses to be given personal protective equipment (PPE), reports RNZ. The union told Checkpoint some nurses have been told off by their colleagues when they wear a mask at work, even when they’ve brought their own. They say social distancing is also impossible as space is limited in hospitals and they have to take care of patients at close quarters. The Ministry of Health says hospital staff do not routinely need to wear masks but it’s working on a list prioritising who needs PPE and for what. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, earlier said she was confident the country has enough PPE to go to everyone who needs it, saying that millions of face masks were available.

Meanwhile, Burger King workers still don’t know if they’re going to be paid during the lockdown period, according to Unite Union. “They have sent over 2,500 employees home without any idea of what their income will be during the lockdown,” Unite national secretary Gerard Hehir in a press release. “They have had the same time as every other employer to sort it out but haven’t – it is not acceptable and they have failed their employees.”

Hehir said as Burger King is owned by one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, the Blackstone Group, “they can absolutely afford to pay their low-paid employers 100% of their normal wages for the lockdown”.

Restaurant Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr and Taco Bell, is paying its workers 100% of their average earnings during the lockdown period, while McDonald’s is paying its workers 80% of average earnings, said Hehir. Fast food outlets are prohibited from opening during the lockdown period, as are bars, restaurants, cafes.

5.50pm: Covid-19 cases in two rest homes; 13 positive tests from Marist College

Fourteen dementia sufferers in a Hawke’s Bay rest home are in isolation, with one considered a probable case of Covid-19. The person was infected by someone who tested positive through a connection to the Ruby Princess cruise ship, who Stuff reports is a local tour guide, and who visited the Gladys Mary Care Home in Napier several times. The confirmed case also visited several other Hawke’s Bay destinations in the days following March 15, when the cruise ship was berthed in Napier, including Mission Estate Winery and the Hohepa community in Clive. At least 133 people who were on board the Ruby Princess have been diagnosed with Covid-19, one of whom has died. 

Four staff at a Hamilton rest home have also tested positive for the virus. They’re believed to have contracted it from a resident who contracted it from his daughter, who was visiting from Australia. Residents of the care home are now confined to their rooms, 27 staff have been stood down and remaining staff are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), reports Stuff.

Meanwhile, the number of cases connected to Auckland school Marist College has risen to 13, the school’s board of trustees chair told RNZ. Nine staff and four students have tested positive for Covid-19, Stephen Dallow said on Checkpoint, and it’s not known how the initial case contracted the virus, with no direct overseas link.

4.50pm: On The Spinoff today

Siouxsie Wiles & Toby Morris: You’ve woken up in lockdown New Zealand. Here’s how it works

A whole bunch of questions about the Covid-19 lockdown, answered

What is a bubble and how does it work? The lockdown-buddies rules, explained

The maths that explains why we’re locking down

What it’s like to make billion dollar investment decisions during Covid-19

The darkness fell so fast: A dispatch from Britain under Covid-19

In pictures: New Zealand in lockdown

Guidelines say stay at home. But what about those who don’t have one?

Children talk to grown-ups about Covid-19

Siouxsie Wiles wants a word with your parents

3.30pm: Christchurch shooter guilty plea ‘a small reprieve’, says Ardern

The prime minister said she “let out a massive sigh of relief” on hearing that the Christchurch mosque shooter had entered a guilty plea this morning. She acknowledged that it would be “deeply disappointing” for those affected by the attacks that they couldn’t gather together at this time, but “there will be a certain sense of relief”. “Our Muslim community is being spared from a trial that could otherwise have acted as a platform. Nothing will bring their loved ones back, but this is a small reprieve.”

3.20pm: $1.5bn paid out under wage subsidy scheme, tenancy termination rules clarified

Finance minister Grant Robertson said that as of 9am this morning, a total of $1.5bn has been paid out under the under wage subsidy scheme to 244,887 workers. A total of 72,913 applications have been paid out, 111,898 applications have been approved and are about to be paid out, and 47,434 are to be processed.

Robertson also provided some clarification on the rules around residential tenancy terminations. Landlords will be unable to terminate existing tenancies except for under limited and specific circumstances.

These reasons are: a tenant substantially damages a property; assaults or threatens to assault a landlord; abandons a property; engages in significant antisocial behaviour; is 60 days behind in rent (an increase from the current rule of 21 days). The Tenancy Tribunal will act as a check to ensure these grounds are being used lawfully.

The tenancy measures take effect within 24 hours and will apply for an initial period of three months.

Robertson yesterday announced a freeze on residential rent increases for the next six months and said that both measures could be extended.

Regarding commercial tenancies, Robertson said he had heard from members of the business community that some commercial landlords were not prepared to offer flexibility on rental payments. “I would urge landlords of commercial properties to speak to tenants and ensure you work together. You will be far better off as commercial landlords if those businesses are able to continue to operate and restart paying you or paying you all the rent they owe when they reopen.”

3.10pm: Ardern thanks New Zealand on day one of lockdown

The prime minister has thanked people for the way they have responded to the lockdown which began at 11.59pm last night. “Everything, broadly, is running as smoothly as could be expected,” said Ardern. It was a “remarkable feat, and I want to thank the nation for that.” She singled out for thanks the nation’s supermarket checkout operators, noting that she was once a checkout operator herself. Panic buying appears to have settled down, she said, as people regained trust that supplies of essential products and services would continue.

3pm: Community groups and NGOs get $27m funding boost

Community groups and other organisations that provide essential support services will receive an immediate $27m cash injection to help them stay afloat, the government has just announced. Family violence and sexual violence services are among those that will see an increase to their funding, a welcome move given that domestic violence tends to sharply rise in times of crisis. Those on the frontlines predict that the close confinement and social isolation of the lockdown period will further exacerbate New Zealand’s already high rates of domestic violence.

The $27m funding announcement also included up to $6m for disability support services, including providing focused support for disabled people in lock-down

1.40pm: What comes after the lockdown?

On what might await, Ashley Bloomfield said: “One of the things we’ll be watching carefully is what will be the triggers for us to be able to move down to alert level three, and then potentially alert level two, and then what residual things we need in place, particularly at the border, to help reduce the likelihood we get another increase after that … We’re also looking to countries like China, as they come out of what appears to be a successful lockdown arrangement, what things they put in place to prevent getting another increase.”

Asked about the clusters of Covid-19 cases, Bloomfield said it was straightforward to contact trace in those locations. He said he was particularly interested in the cluster stemming from the Ruby Princess cruise ship, with a visit to a winery involved.

How many cases were we likely to see? “It’s hard to predict but, yes, it may get up into the thousands. The key thing here is that we want the turnaround point to be as soon as possible. That could be around 10 days’ time if we are doing what we need to do now.”

On reports that health professionals had insufficient protective equipment, Bloomfield said: “We have really good supply of PPE and we are working hard over today to make sure it is out with everybody who needs it in whatever clinical situation they are in … I should emphasise it’s important we use the PPE appropriately so it doesn’t mean everybody working in a hospital needs to be at all times wearing a mask or be in PPE. The important thing is we’re using the PPE to reduce risk to our health workforce.”

1.20pm: 168 arriving passengers placed in quarantine

Mike Bush, the commissioner of police, appearing at the daily briefing alongside Bloomfield, has reported encouraging levels of compliance in the first hours of the lockdown. He said officers would be “very visible”, and focusing in early days on education and issuing warnings. “But we will ensure that people will need to comply.”

He said he was unaware of any arrests having been made.

Bush also sought to clarify quarantine and triage measures for arriving passengers at Auckland airport.

“If you have any symptoms, you will be taken by health people to a place of quarantine. We have a number of hotel locations proximate to Auckland airport,” he said.

“Everyone that lands here will also be taken to nearby locations and triaged there. If you have a plan, if you have a place to go, we will help you get there. If you have friends coming to pick you up, only one person in your bubble will be allowed to pick you up and take you to that place. Otherwise we’ll facilitate it for you.”

He said 360 people had come through the airport this morning. Eight of those had symptoms and have been sent to quarantine, while 160 had no self-isolation plans, so had also been placed in hotels “until that can be looked after”. There had been “a few speed bumps”, but “we’ll do everything we can to be compassionate and caring to all those people”.

He said there were people arriving overnight who claimed to be unaware of self-isolation requirements.

Bush provided some clarity about whether people were allowed to drive to parks and beaches. “You’ve heard the prime minister say keep it local. Don’t be driving willy-nilly all over town. If it’s nearby, if it’s for exercise, that’s OK.”

On businesses thought to be flouting rules of closure, he said: “We’ll take those one at a time. We’ll take that quite seriously.”

1.10pm: 78 new cases of Covid-19 in NZ

There are 78 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, with 73 positive tests and five probable cases, Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health, has announced. It brings the total to 283 cases.

There are “several possible clusters” being investigated, including Marist College in Auckland, the Hereford conference in Queenstown, a wedding in Wellington, a group of people who went on a trip to the United States, and a group focused in Hawkes Bay who had contact with someone from the Ruby Princess. Most worryingly, there is also a rest home in Hamilton.

Seven people are in hospital, all stable. None is in intensive care.

Yesterday, 2,417 tests were processed, bringing the total to 12,683 overall. The average daily test count is around 1,400.

Bloomfield also announced a change to how pharmaceuticals will be dispensed. Pharmacists will only be able to dispense one month’s supply of Pharmac-funded medicines, or three months for the oral contraceptive. They can make exceptions on a case by case basis, for example if someone lives remotely or has access issues.

12.20pm: ‘Significant milestone for one of our darkest days’ – Police commissioner

Mike Bush has issue a statement on this morning’s shock news of a guilty plea from the Christchurch mosque shooter. “Arrangements for the court hearing were made at short notice after the defendant indicated, via his counsel on Tuesday afternoon that he wished to be brought before the court. Police appreciate this news will come as a surprise to the victims and the public, some of whom may have wished to be present in the courtroom,” he said.

Imams from Al Noor and Linwood mosques were in court “as representatives of the victims, as were representatives of the media”, he said.

“Suppression orders were put in place to allow police, victim court advisers and victim support to advise as many of the victims as possible prior to the news being made public. Sentencing will not take place until it is possible for all victims who wish to attend the hearing to do so. Due to the Covid-19 epidemic that will not be possible for some time. The defendant has therefore been further remanded in custody until 1 May 2020, at which time the position will be reviewed and either a sentencing date will be set or there will be a further remand in custody …

“While the sentencing hearing is still pending, today’s guilty pleas are a significant milestone in respect of one of our darkest days. I want to acknowledge the victims, their families and the community of Christchurch – the many lives that were changed forever. They have inspired all of us to be a kind and more tolerant community.”

Bush is appearing at 1pm alongside Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health, for today’s Covid-19 media briefing. We’ll be updating live throughout.

11.30am: Christchurch shooter pleads guilty

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has pleaded guilty, RNZ is reporting.

Via video link, the man, who is currently in prison in Auckland, pleaded guilty to all the charges at about 10am today.

The man was impassive, asking at one point for the clarification of one victim’s name, but said nothing else.

It is unclear whether this is related to the Covid-19 crisis. “There was no indication from him or his lawyer why there was this late change of plea,” RNZ reported.

The man had previously denied the charges and was scheduled to stand trial in June. He becomes New Zealand’s first convicted terrorist.

Officials had attempted in short order to contact families in advance “so that they didn’t find out through the media”.

Speaking on Nine to Noon, Jamal Green, a spokesperson for Al Noor mosque, said the news came as an “enormous relief”, and would lift a burden, with many unable to speak freely, with feelings “hidden and suppressed, because you know that what you do or say could be evidential”.

11.15am: Three puts shows on hold

Television is the medicine of the nation, and it’s affected, too, by the lockdown. MediaWorks has announced some changes to programming. Production on all its local entertainment shows is halted, meaning Dancing with the Stars NZ will not air in April as planned, and The Block NZ is on hold. “We will be reviewing all of our local content and our capacity to return to full production as soon as it is safe to do so,” said a spokesperson.

The usual news bulletins continue, as do The Project and Newshub Nation.

Meanwhile, here are some of the front pages this morning:

10.50am: World Health Organisation boss speaks on lockdowns

In a virtual press conference, the head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom has called on countries to make the most of the time they’ve gained by instituting lockdowns. Here are the steps he outlined that countries need to take.

“You have created a second window of opportunity. The question is, how will you use it? There are six key actions that we recommend.”

  • First, expand, train and deploy your health care and public health workforce;
  • Second, implement a system to find every suspected case at community level;
  • Third, ramp up the production, capacity and availability of testing;
  • Fourth, identify, adapt and equip facilities you will use to treat and isolate patients;
  • Fifth, develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts;
  • And sixth, refocus the whole of government on suppressing and controlling Covid-19.

10.20am: Birth fears loom for those due to have quarantine babies

The Ministry of Health sent out guidelines earlier this week to community midwives that they should avoid bringing those giving birth to hospitals if they can. So does that mean home births for all? Radio NZ’s First Up show spoke to a woman this morning who is deeply anxious about her due date, because her home isn’t suitable at all. There’s no telling how busy hospitals will be in two weeks, if that is when her baby arrives.

9.25am: City centres empty as NZ lockdown begins

You won’t be able to head out of the house to see this for yourself, but journalists have been out on the first morning of the lockdown taking eerie photos of cities without people. Here are some of the best.

9.10am: Business lobby responds to food export worker concerns

In today’s Bulletin about fairness, one of the stories covered was that of food export manufacturing workers, who say they’re having to risk their health in order for business to continue as usual – without that food then being necessary to feed New Zealanders. In a release sent out by Business NZ, ExportNZ Executive Director Catherine Beard has responded:

“New Zealand is part of a global food supply chain which would be disrupted if we started putting restrictions on food exports,” Catherine Beard said.

“Food exports are going to help New Zealand weather this economic storm. 70-80% of goods exports are food-related and they are essential to our economy.

“Nor is there cause for concern about working conditions, as food manufacturing businesses are already highly regulated and sanitised environments.

“Employers will be taking extra care about working conditions to keep employees safe, in line with Government recommendations for safe working conditions in a Covid19 situation.”

8.45am: Trade Me making changes to auctions

Purchases made on Trade Me from casual sellers will not be able to be completed while New Zealand is at alert level four, the online marketplace has confirmed in a release. Auctions will instead be extended by four weeks, and buy now options removed. There will be no fee if auctions are withdrawn. The main reason for these changes is because at the moment couriers aren’t transporting any non-essential items.

8.20am: Virgin makes 550 redundant as business impact becomes more clear

Virgin Australia has announced that it is exiting New Zealand, resulting in the loss of 550 jobs, part of a wave of redundancies happening around the country as businesses grapple with the spiralling impacts of Covid-19 and its associated economic costs. Air NZ is cutting its international schedule to just 11 flights per week, and there will likely be thousands of job losses at the national carrier in weeks to come.

The NZ Herald’s Matt Nippert reports on just how many businesses might be unable to survive this, even with government intervention, with columnist and insolvency practitioner Damien Grant saying that there is a two-to-three month window before a “wall of insolvencies” hits. Grant and PWC’s David Bridgman advised businesses to go into a period of ‘hibernation’ to endure the crisis, potentially stopping paying tax and rent in order to survive.

Within energy, the outcomes are mixed. The Marsden oil refinery is halving its output as demand will plummet during the lockdown, but coal remains unchanged, as it is considered essential as part of our electricity  supply chain.

Only essential construction is allowed to continue, and Stuff says that designation does not include much of the Christchurch rebuild, meaning many of its marquee projects will likely miss their opening dates. One industry with the opposite problem is Kiwifruit, which normal draws on 20,000 seasonal labourers during May. The Bay of Plenty Times reports that 10,000 pickers made it in before border closures, but that 4,000 missed the deadline. 

7.30am: Mike Bush says no arrests during first seven hours of lockdown

In an interview on Morning Report, with both hosts broadcasting from their homes, Susie Ferguson has interviewed police commissioner Mike Bush. He told her there have been no arrests within the first seven hours of the level four lockdown. They have issued a number of warnings, with “some people saying they were unaware”. He said warnings remain the default for initial interactions, and was at pains to convey that this would be “the friendly face of Police”.

He also made it clear they had other faces. “If we suspect there are gatherings inside places, we are authorised to go into them,” he said, and reminded the public that those on the street “can be arrested”, though he said they will “only be prosecuting those who are seriously breaching the lockdown, or are  repeat offenders.” Bush said that they were ready for an increase in burglaries, and were anticipating “an increase in family harm incidents… we’ll be deploying into those with urgency.”

He said that while he was in regular contact with the military, there were no current plans to deploy it, or set up roadblocks.

7.15am: From today’s edition of The Bulletin

An excerpt from our daily news digest – sign up here

A state of national emergency was declared yesterday in parliament. Radio NZ has an explainer on what this term means, and the rarity by which it is deployed – the only other time it happened was after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. It gives Civil Defence access to powers that wouldn’t normally be available, but in this sort of situation may be necessary. The police are still the agency responsible for maintaining law and order, and Andrew Geddis has given a thorough legal outline of how authority is derived and wielded in times like these. Sam Sachdeva from Newsroom was in parliament for the final sitting in a while, and wrote a reflective report about the mood of the chamber.

A new poll shows broad support for shutdown measures now in place. Stuff reports more than 90% of respondents said they supported it, and just under 90% of respondents said they supported travel being banned from countries that had experienced deaths from Covid-19. However, the support dropped to 58% on the question of shutting schools, and 60% of respondents believe the economy will be hit “very badly” by measures aimed at stopping outbreaks. A note – the poll was conducted on Sunday, so given the rapidly moving situation some measurements may now be different.

It’s too late to do anything about this now, but some beach towns could be under serious strain in the coming weeks. That comes out of this report from Susan Strongman at Radio NZ about Pauanui, normally known primarily as an enclave for the wealthy and their baches. But it’s also a place with only one doctor, the median age is very old, and with a lot of bach owners choosing to spend their shutdown out there, the town’s systems could struggle to cope. There’s also a concern for the permanent residents of the town that one of the recent arrivals might have brought Covid-19 with them.

The country’s trade stats have been shifted to a large degree by Covid-19, as this wrap of provisional stats by Interest shows. They reported on Stats NZ figures that compared the week ending March 18 with the equivalent last year, and export values to all countries were up by a healthy 3.7%. But total imports were down by a much more significant 11%, and total trade to China was massively down.

A bit of media news: StopPress reports that the National Business Review will now be an online-only publication. The move has been on the way for a while, and comes alongside several years worth of investment in digital multimedia capabilities. Those plans also appear to have accelerated because of the pressure being put on by the pandemic.

Read also: To begin today’s Bulletin, Alex Braae wrapped a series of stories that bring into question the idea of fairness, and whether we’re really all in this together. Read the full piece here.

6.45am: Wuhan lifts lockdown as India starts its own

As New Zealand wakes up to its first day in lockdown, Wuhan, the vast Chinese city where the virus originated, has been given a date upon which its months-long lockdown will end. CNN reports that on April 8th, two weeks from now, the city will finally re-emerge, after five consecutive days of zero new infections. The Chinese response was slowed by a near-total lack of knowledge about the virus and its spread, but it entered a very severe lockdown nearly two months ago, after a vast number of infections and deaths. It proves that even a relatively advanced outbreak in an urban area can be contained with extreme measures and strong compliance.

As China starts to lift its lockdowns, neighbouring giant India begins to enter its own. The nation of 1.4bn has many challenges to replicating China’s success, with enormous and densely populated cities characterised by overcrowding and poor sanitation in parts. The Guardian has a stark picture of the capital Delhi on day one, with its usual traffic jams. Despite having just 500 cases and 10 deaths, epidemiologists warn that a major outbreak is inevitable. “Even with the projected best-case scenarios, [India’s] already overstretched healthcare system will definitely collapse,”said Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

New York, the epicentre of the US outbreak, is seeing early positive signs that its social distancing effort is working, with the New York Times reporting early data suggesting hospitalisation rates have moved from doubling every two days on Sunday, to every 4.7 days by Tuesday. Governor Andrew Cuomo cautioned against reading too much into the change, noting that the move was so fast as to be “almost too good to be true.” The US infection numbers have not yet been fully updated overnight, but two other numbers have: the $2tn aid package has passed in the senate, and Trump – who wants the country back in business by Easter, somehow has the highest approval rating of his presidency.

In the rest of the world, Italy, the nation with the highest number of deaths from the virus, reported a fourth consecutive day of slowing infections, a small positive after weeks of lockdown. Its daily death total of 743 was almost matched by Spain’s 738, a country so stricken it has turned an ice rink into a morgue. In post-lockdown UK, positive cases surpassed 8,000, while it was announced that home-testing kits will next week be available to the general public.

Finally, knowledge of who the virus impacts most heavily is growing, with CNN reporting that in Italy 60% of positive tests are men, and 70% of the dead. “Even in countries like South Korea, where the proportion of women who have tested positive for the virus is higher than that of men, about 54% of the reported deaths are among men.”

6.15am: Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris explain the bubble

The people who have helped many of understand this sudden and radical shift in our daily lives, and why individual actions matter, have another excellent new collaboration explaining the bubble concept, and the rest of the level four rules.

For the vast majority of us, it will just be the people we are living with. For people with shared custody of children, the bubble will cover the houses the children move between. If a blended family covers three or more households, that ends up being a pretty big bubble, so please think about whether it is best for some of the children not to move between their families. This will be difficult, but the aim is to keep the bubbles small and stop the spread of the virus.

If older relatives are able to safely live on their own, then they should stay as their own bubble. If you live alone, and you have a close friend who lives alone, then the two of you can form a bubble and move between your two homes. If you have flatmates and your partner has flatmates, you can’t form a bubble unless one of you moves in with the other.

6.00am: Yesterday’s news in sum

  • An emergency alert notifying people that the country was moving to alert level four tonight at 11.59pm was sent to phones nationwide.
  • The prime minister announced tough new quarantine rules for arrivals – every New Zealander will be screened, those showing symptoms tested, and those symptomatic, testing positive or without suitable self-isolation plans will be quarantined.
  • A state of national emergency was declared.
  • Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health, announced 50 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand (47 confirmed and three “probable”), bringing the total to 205.
  • Chief human rights commissioner Paul Hunt has tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Covid-19 dream team Toby Morris and Siouxsie Wiles collaborated on a must-read edition of The Side Eye, explaining how the virus spreads.
  • The Tokyo Olympics were postponed until next year.
  • Schools sent out directives to parents that all grounds will be closed over the shutdown period.
Keep going!