The news keeps coming on the coronavirus pandemic. Today we learned details of a $900 million bailout for Air New Zealand, Auckland Council announced it was closing public facilities such as recreation centres and libraries and parents got the information they needed (or may have been dreading) - schools will close if there's a community outbreak.
The main highlights
• After days of worried speculation, the Ministry of Education confirmed all schools and early childhood centres in New Zealand will close if community transmission of Covid-19 is confirmed. Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said bringing forward the Easter school holidays was also an option being considered.
• There are 11 new cases of coronavirus in New Zealand, bringing the total to 39, with more expected. None of the new cases are in hospital - all at home self-isolating.
• Auckland mayor Phil Goff said the city's art galleries, pools, recreational centres and libraries would be closed for two weeks. Auckland's 55 libraries normally receive more than 250,000 visits a week, while there are 200,000 visits a week to swimming pools and leisure centres.
Taking care of business
• Hospitality revenue has "fallen off a cliff" and is down more than 50 per cent, says Hospitality NZ Auckland president Russell Gray. The Restaurant Association last week said hospitality business revenue was down an average of 25 per cent - Gray says this has since spiralled downwards.
• The Government is looking at letting thousands of migrant workers stay in New Zealand longer to ease their plight in the wake of unprecedented border closures. An announcement is likely to come next week as officials look at how many foreign workers this may affect.
• The Government is giving Air New Zealand a loan facility of up to $900 million as it copes with the coronavirus fallout. "Without this intervention, New Zealand was at risk of not having a national airline," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
• In news from our Premium partners, the New York Times explains how to stop worrying and love a falling stock market and the Financial Times tracks
the countries affected by coronavirus and the economic impact.
• A public health expert compares Covid-19 to a ballistic missile. "Once launched, these things don't really change their course," says Professor Michael Baker, New Zealand's foremost epidemiologist. In this absorbing long read Coronavirus - How Covid-19 shook the world, Herald, science reporter Jamie Morton traces how the disease has changed our lives and brought the world to a virtual standstill.
• David Fisher's in-depth analysis offers an excellent guide to how the crisis is likely to play out in New Zealand and what further measures health officials believe are necessary.
• Regular columnist Matthew Hooton argues that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has clearly outplayed National leader Simon Bridges in her handling of the crisis - but that might not help her win the election.