New Zealand will implement an alert system in order to help fight the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
Addressing the nation following the announcement of 13 new cases of Covid-19, including potential community outbreak, the Prime Minister revealed a four-stage system to be introduced.
New Zealand is currently at stage two, the Prime Minister added. The system applies to the whole country, although at times can apply to certain cities and towns.
Stage one is where Covid-19 is here but contained.
Stage two is where Covid-19 is contained but the risks are growing as more cases arise. Unnecessary travel should be contained and more travel restrictions are put in place.
Stage three is where Covid-19 is "increasingly difficult to contain," the Prime Minister added. Public venues and non essential businesses will be closed.
Stage four is in place at sustained levels of transmission. Contact between people is eliminated altogether, the public urged to stay at home. Essential services will remain in place.
Supermarkets and access to pharmaceuticals will be in place at every stage, with the Prime Minister insisting people shop normally.
New Zealand is currently at stage level two.
Prime Minister Ardern also urged that those over the ago of 70 with compromised immunity should stay home as much as possible.
"People over 70 years of age, or people who are immunocompromised or have certain pre-existing conditions, need to stay at home as much as they can from now on.
"I'm asking everyone to support our older New Zealanders by doing things like keeping in contact with them and dropping off food or other supplies.
"I am also asking businesses and workplaces to play their part. Many workplaces already have plans for staff to work from home or to distance themselves in the workplace. We are now asking you to put those plans in place.
"Health and emergency professionals, transport and delivery staff, supermarket and food production workers, and other essential people will be continuing on at their place of work at this alert level.
"We are also asking New Zealanders to limit all non-essential domestic travel. We need people to significantly reduce the number of interactions they have at this time and that includes visiting people in different parts of the country for non-essential reasons.
"These measures are being taken in the national interest. We know people, business, and sports events will be impacted, but these are short-term disruptions for the overall health of our people and country.
"I know many New Zealanders are anxious. The alert system is designed to offer certainty around future action and the ability for people to plan and prepare for any future eventuality. Please be strong, be kind, and unite against Covid-19."
It was previously reported 14 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 53. The Ministry of Health has since issued a correction.