Auckland mother of two Jasmine Pan says she is feeling totally overwhelmed as New Zealand enters a month-long nationwide lockdown, but having seen friends and family go through it in China is keeping her optimistic.

A state of emergency was declared in New Zealand yesterday after 50 more coronavirus cases were confirmed, taking the country's total number to 205.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, on Monday, gave the nation two days to prepare for a lockdown in a desperate bid to stem the spread of coronavirus - ordering the entire country to stay home apart from essential services.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declaring a State of National Emergency in Parliament ahead of the Government's shutdown to slow the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declaring a State of National Emergency in Parliament ahead of the Government's shutdown to slow the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Pan and her husband Steven, both in their 30s, are also readying themselves to play the role of carer, teacher and entertainer to their two daughters Sophie, 5, and Mia, 4, through the coronavirus lockdown.

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"We are entering the unknown, but I believe we have prepared the best we could and can now only hope for the best when we get out of this," said Pan, an international manager at Youthtown.

"We have been in contact with people in China, including my dad in Guangzhou, who are also living with restrictions and that's helped us to know what it's like."

Steven, a businessman who owns two Bruce Lee Sushi outlets in Constellation Drive and Albany, was originally from Wuhan - where the first coronavirus cases occurred. The city is due to have its two-month lockdown lifted on April 8 as China reports fewer daily cases, and life is returning to normality.

Steven and Jasmine Pan, here with daughters Sophie, 5, and Mia, 4, are ready to tackle the four-week stay-at-home in a disciplined manner. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Steven and Jasmine Pan, here with daughters Sophie, 5, and Mia, 4, are ready to tackle the four-week stay-at-home in a disciplined manner. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"One of my husband's former high school classmate and his family were all struck by Covid-19, they were sick and went through treatment and isolation. Now they are well," Pan said.

"People saw the seriousness of coronavirus and were disciplined in locking themselves up in their houses to stop spreading the virus. They survived and the city is now opening up again. This is where I get my hope and inspiration."

In Hubei, where the Covid-19 outbreak started, tight travel restrictions have been lifted this week for people who have a clean bill of health, and this week was the first time people had been seen returning to China's streets after two months of lockdown.

It's been a "crazy two days" since the Prime Minister announced the lockdown on Monday, Pan said, as the couple stocked up their freezer with frozen meat and vegetables.

Mineral water and hand wash are the other two essential supplies they have stocked up on.

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Pan said her two daughters, one in Year 2 and the other in foundation at Diocesan School for Girls, were a little too young to understand how devastating the impact of the disease will be for them and others around them.

Auckland roads are quiet due to the lockdown. Photo / Alex Burton
Auckland roads are quiet due to the lockdown. Photo / Alex Burton

"My husband may be without his business after this and we may have to close the two sushi shops, but in a way it's lucky that the girls are oblivious to that," Pan said.

"Our plan is to try to keep things as normal as possible for the kids and to have a routine, guided by what's been given to us by their school."

For Sophie, the school has arranged for a daily Zoom video conference at 10.30am to keep her in touch with her Year 2 schoolmates.

Pan is also planning to set up one for foundation level students and their parents so that they too can remain connected during the lockdown.

"I think it's important for the sake of our mental wellbeing and sanity that we remain connected with others in a similar situations as ourselves, just as a constant reminder that we are not alone in this," Pan said.

"This to me is as important for the children, as well as us parents."

Daily routine for the girls also include a half-an-hour of exercise routine, based on a video also supplied by the school's physical education department, and lessons in maths, reading, piano and Mandarin - taught by Pan, her husband and Pan's mother who is living with them.

"Working from home with the two kids has been a bit crazy, but we try to give them a sense of order amid all the chaos," Pan said.

"I also make sure they wash their hands, sing along with them while they do it, every two hours or so, and we've been doing a lot of laundry."

She makes it a point to tell them why they need to wash their hands and how their actions can help keep everyone healthy.

"Looking on the bright side, we will be getting a lot more family time which we didn't have before," Pan said.

"We are hopeful and optimistic, otherwise we won't be taking this so seriously and I hope others in New Zealand will too.

"When we come out of this, I'm not sure what we'll be left with - whether I will still have my job or if my husband will have his business. But all I pray and hope is that all of us will still have our health and lives."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website