- NZ is in coronavirus lockdown for next four weeks after PM lifts alert status.
- Our coronavirus alert level will move up to 3 immediately and to 4 within 48 hours.
- Schools, childcare centres and universities will be closed from tomorrow.
- All non-essential businesses or services must shut in the next 48 hours.
- Kiwis should stay at home unless visiting an essential service, PM says.
- This will save tens of thousands of lives.
- Finance Minister announces new economic plan to help struggling companies and workers.
Schools and non-essential services across New Zealand will be closed for at least the next four weeks after the Government put the country in a nationwide lockdown to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.
There were 36 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, taking the total number of cases to 102.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the magnitude of the measures as she announced them today, but said they could save the lives of tens of thousands of New Zealanders.
"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.
"If that happens unchecked, our health system will be inundated, and thousands of New Zealanders will die."
So what does today's announcement mean for you?
• What does level 4 look like? Level 4 means people are instructed to stay at home, schools and universities closed, as well as non-essential businesses, major reprioritisation of health services, and severely limited travel.
• What services are essential? The Government has released the list of jobs and services deemed "essential" and are therefore not required to be in lockdown. Read the full list here.
• What about schools? All schools and Early Childhood Education Centres will be closed from midnight Tuesday and tertiary institutions will as soon as possible amid the Covid-19 lockdown. The exception is for the children of identified essential workers who can continue going to school until midnight on Wednesday while their parents make alternative arrangements.
• A reminder to SHOP NORMAL: Following today's announcement, shoppers have ignored the Prime Minister's calls for calm forcing supermarkets in Auckland to close their doors or bar customers due to high demand.
• The Government has almost doubled how much it will spend on its wage subsidy scheme; opening it up to all companies in New Zealand as thousands of businesses are forced to close their doors.
• The Government also announced a rent freeze. Finance Minister Grant Robertson said landlords will temporarily be unable to raise rents in a bid to provide relief to renters facing reduced working hours or job losses as a result of the coronavirus downturn.
• And the economy? New Zealand shares slumped more than 10 per cent today for the first time ever after the Government announced a series of stricter restrictions to counter the spread of Covid-19.
What does this mean for business?
And the economy? So what should small to medium businesses do in a level 3 and level 4 world? Business expert outlines your first actions.
• In just over a week the number of businesses calling one of the country's largest banks has risen from a dozen to thousands now asking for help with their financial situation.
• The major banks are looking at allowing small to medium sized businesses and mortgage customers to suspend payments for a period as many firms curtail their activities or lose custom due to the coronavirus crisis.
• How we work is about to change drastically. The coronavirus pandemic is expected to fundamentally change the way many organisations operate for the foreseeable future. As governments and businesses around the world tell those with symptoms to self-quarantine and everyone else to practice social distancing, remote work is our new reality. How do corporate leaders, managers and individual workers make this sudden shift?
The global pandemic
• Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 infections have skyrocketed in Australia. NSW and Queensland have both reported a record number of new coronavirus cases overnight — 136 and 60 — while Victoria saw another 59. As of Monday morning, total confirmed cases — based on a tally of numbers provided by health authorities in each state and territory — stands at 1609.
• And Europe's case numbers surge, officials and healthcare workers are scrambling to keep national health systems above water.
The toll on sport continues
• All rugby in New Zealand has been suspended for the "foreseeable future" after the Government announced the country will go into lockdown this week. All New Zealand teams will cease training - but at this stage, there are no decisions on the future of the Super Rugby competition, or the All Blacks tests scheduled for July.