New Zealand will impose a four-week lockdown in a bid to smother coronavirus infection rates and avoid the mass fatalities seen elsewhere in the world, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.
Ardern added the South Pacific nation was fortunate its infection numbers remained relatively low, with 102 cases and no fatalities in the population of about five million.
But she said the latest data showed COVID-19 was now being transmitted between New Zealanders, rather than just being brought in by overseas arrivals, meaning radical action was needed. Otherwise, she warned the number of cases would double every five days.
She said a nationwide lockdown was “a simple but highly effective way to constrain the virus that gives it no place to go and will give our healthcare system a fighting chance.”
Schools and non-essential businesses will shut down and New Zealanders will be ordered to stay at home for the next four weeks.