New Zealand declares state of emergency, Australia/NZ News & Top Stories

Image RNZ  Kate Newton

There is support for the Government's new quarantine rules.

Police were called in as huge crowds swamped a New Zealand ferry terminal on Tuesday with people rushing to get home before a four-week coronavirus lockdown begins, as panic buying stripped supermarket shelves bare.

'Each of you has a role in helping to save a life, ' she said.

The number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand rose to 205, authorities announced earlier in the day. These returnees will be screened for symptoms, and quarantined if they could possibly have coronavirus.

Officials continued to work through the details. "Then we'll begin to know how successful we have been", Ardern explained.

In a previous press conference, Ardern said the inevitable jump in cases should not be alarm Kiwis.

Approved isolation facilities will be hotels, mainly, and the Government has already looked at hotels near airports to be used.

It is understood that about 10,000 New Zealanders, now overseas, are expected to return home by the end of the month.

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According to the reports, Ardern warned the citizens that the lockdown will be strictly enforced. She said she accepted that people could walk around the block to "sustain themselves".

Of the 155 total there had been 15 Covid-19 cases in the South, including two new confirmed Dunedin cases yesterday and one probable Dunedin case. "Don't think about congregating with anyone else, don't think about a lunch or a catch-up, or visiting a friend in their home", she said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as the country prepared to go into complete lockdown to combat the spread of deadly COVID-19 virus.

A state of emergency was declared in New Zealand by the Minister for Civil Defence Peeni Henare on Wednesday afternoon as the number of infections soared to 205 overnight - a rise of nearly 50 per cent.

Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black said Kiwis pull through by calling on memories of varied tragedies and emergencies over the next month.

"We don't want thousands of people to die".

Insp Sweeney said police would take action if required to ensure people behaved responsibly, including seeing people did not travel unless it was essential to do so, but he said he hoped enforcement action would not be necessary. The vast majority of these cases are linked to overseas travel or other confirmed cases, but four are considered community transmission and "a number of cases we are investigating are also suspected to be community transmission", the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

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