Kiwis have woken up today to their first day of a minimum four-week lockdown period to help fight coronavirus, as police ramp up their presence in communities around the country to enforce the new lockdown rules.
Yesterday, a nationwide state of emergency was also declared ensuring the Government, police and Civil Defence have the legislative means to enforce the lockdown and the tools to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Those powers include closing roads, stopping people from doing activities that may contribute to the emergency, excluding people from places and prohibiting or regulating traffic.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush told TVNZ1’s Breakfast breaking the new rules is illegal, but people will get a warning.
From today, he said police will be approaching everyone to check they are complying with the new rules. Anyone who has ventured outside will have have already seen an increased police presence, he said.
“We will ask people whether they should be out or not, whether they’re complying with the rules. If they’re not they’ll be warned. If they continue, there will be consequences because this is serious stuff,” said Mr Bush.
He said it’s about keeping people alive.
“The majority of New Zealanders are doing the right thing and they want everyone else to do the right thing … We want people to stay home and save lives,” said Mr Bush.
As of yesterday afternoon, New Zealand’s total of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases sat at 205. More cases are likely to be announced today.
Mr Bush said if Kiwis see anyone not abiding by the rules and making serious breaches they can contact police.
“If you don’t comply others will die, really simple stuff.”
Kiwis in lockdown join about a quarter of the world’s population, with Spain’s Covid-19 death toll today surpassing that of China, becoming the second highest in the world behind Italy’s.