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Morning Briefing March 26: Kiwis begin life in lockdown

Prince Charles has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement released by his Clarence House office overnight.

Source: Getty

The heir to the British throne is “displaying mild symptoms”, but is otherwise in good health and is working from home. His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, has tested negative for the virus.

The BBC reports Prince Charles last saw his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on March 12. 

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National lockdown begins

Meanwhile, New Zealand is waking up to life in official lockdown as the country looks to tackle the Covid-19 coronavirus.

A State of National Emergency was declared yesterday, giving the Government special powers to slow the spread of the virus and reduce its impact.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the declaration and the signing of Epidemic Notices are the legislative “tools of last resort” as the Government enforces the national lockdown.

Ms Ardern warned New Zealanders that failure to comply in the coming days will put the lives of others at risk and “there will be no tolerance for that”.

New Zealand's border measures are also being tightened with all returning Kiwis being screened for Covid-19.

In announcing the new move yesterday, Ms Ardern said the additional measures were in line with expectations that the number of returning Kiwis who have potentially come into contact with the virus is likely to have increased.

New Zealand’s current total of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases sits at 205 and as officials brace for further cases, Ms Ardern asked New Zealanders to “do their part”.

“Stay home, break the chain, save lives.”

(And also know that you’re in good company while you sit at home in isolation – about a quarter of the world’s population is now in lockdown, too.)

So what now?

The advisories came thick and fast yesterday as organisations moved to explain how various aspects of life will work while the country is in lockdown. 

Water Safety New Zealand has urged everyone to stay out of the water for a start. With search and rescue teams predominantly made up of volunteers who will also be in lockdown, getting into trouble on the water puts others at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. For that same reason, Fire and Emergency has asked Kiwis to think about fire safety as they self-isolate.

Seven Sharp’s Mike Thorpe has also put together a quick guide on what you can and can’t do on the roads for the next four weeks, including the essential businesses you’re allowed to drive to, and the insurance guidelines for what happens if there’s an accident while travelling to one of those places. 

Non-essential travel is now banned, so if you’re thinking of travelling to the bach during lockdown – don’t.

A Covid-19 national response spokesperson told 1 NEWS travelling to and from a holiday home was contrary to the aim of reducing contacts between people and the potential for community transmission.

The NZ Rural General Practice Network echoed those sentiments, saying people from bigger cities choosing to isolate themselves in rural or beach communities placed too much extra pressure on their practices. 

Other FAQs and information about what the lockdown entails can be found at the Government’s official Covid-19 website

Stranded Kiwis in for the long haul

The Government has confirmed thousands of New Zealanders currently stranded overseas won’t be able to get home for the foreseeable future.

Prime Minister Ardern ruled out widespread mercy flights yesterday and told those stuck abroad to settle in for the long haul.

“Wherever you are, set yourselves up for the time being because it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to bring you home,” she said. 

Among those stranded are travellers in Peru and a group of 17 Kiwis stuck on the Coral Princess cruise ship off the coast of Florida, who have been banned from disembarking at three different ports in South America.

However there is some better news for around 100 Kiwis stuck on the Vasco da Gama cruise ship off Australia’s coast, with talks underway with the Government about how to get them home.  

Air NZ makes more cuts

Air New Zealand is making further cuts to its international services next week, with international flight capacity dropping by 95 per cent from pre-coronavirus levels.

Weekly trans-Tasman and long haul flights will be reduced and will only be available for essential travel and air freight. Domestic services into Auckland will continue to connect on to international routes.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia has stood down 8000 of their 10,000 staff until at least the end of May, with their domestic schedule now cut by 90 per cent and all flights of its low-cost Tigerair service also suspended.  

Other news of note this morning:

Spain’s Covid-19 death toll has surpassed that of China, becoming the second highest in the world behind Italy’s. 

RNZ reports some New Zealand doctors on the Covid-19 frontline are sending their children away from home, as they struggle with childcare during the national lockdown.

While rent increases are now frozen for residential tenancies, some property managers are telling tenants that they must pay rent or likely receive a 14-day notice, a move one renters' group says is "tone deaf".

NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson says the sport is "fighting for survival" as competitions at all levels are shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. 

And a CNN producer has written about what it’s like to be pregnant in France right now - where social distancing extends to the birth of your own child.  

And finally...

Source: Seven Sharp

Many New Zealanders are now working from home for the first time in their lives, which is no doubt proving a bumpy transition for some.

But fear not – Seven Sharp reporter Laura Daniel considers herself the country’s foremost expert on the topic, having worked from home for two whole days now.

You can watch her completely qualified tips for setting up a home office right here.