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Domestic travel deadline extended to Friday midnight as Covid-19 lockdown looms

The deadline for domestic travel around New Zealand has been extended until midnight Friday, to allow Kiwis to get home for the Covid-19 lockdown.

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Physical distancing wasn't possible for many people today. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes as New Zealand goes into alert level four Wednesday midnight to tackle the Covid-19 spread, with the alert level severely limiting travel. 

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said "domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have been inundated with people trying to get home before the original cut-off date of midnight Wednesday for non-essential workers".

"A decrease in passenger numbers to accommodate level three physical distancing measures has reduced the ability of passenger services to carry more people."

Mr Twyford said there had been additional pressure on domestic services as international tourists "declared Covid-free to move to their final destination in New Zealand". 

Non-essential workers can now travel until midnight Friday.

"After this time, services will only be provided to essential services and workers, including freight services."

International travellers are only allowed to use domestic services "to reach their final destination to comply with lock-down requirements".

Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country was sitting at alert level three, and would go up to four at midnight tomorrow. 

Air New Zealand announced yesterday they are adding more domestic flights so all New Zealanders will be able to get home before the country goes into lockdown.

Level four alert system

- People instructed to stay at home
- Educational facilities closed 
- Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities 
- Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities 
- Travel severely limited
- Major reprioritisation of healthcare services