NZ to ease stage four lockdowns


Cities like Queenstown will soon have the strictest coronavirus-related restrictions lifted. Photo: Pedro Szekely (CC BY-SA 2.0)

New Zealand will move to ease its stage four lockdown from next week, and stay in stage three restrictions for a fortnight.

Under the country’s stage four lockdown, New Zealand residents can not visit partners who do not live at the same address, and takeaway or food delivery services are banned.

Those are tougher restrictions than a stage three lockdown, which Australia is currently in.

In Australia’s second most populated state Premier Daniel Andrews has urged Victorians to abide by the stage three lockdown and quarantine rules.

From midnight on Saturday the 28th of March, Australians returning from overseas were placed in supervised self isolation, in a hotel or other government approved facility.

The Premier said in the past month between 1300 and 2000 people were coming back to Melbourne from overseas each day and they were being put into accommodation.

Mr Andrews told ABC News that under stage three restrictions Victorians could only leave the house for four reasons – getting food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education.

“We have a very simple message today. Stay at home. Victoria has moved to stage 3 and that involves a ban with an on the spot fine of more than 16,000 dollars if you breach it on gatherings with more than two people other than those in your household.”

Mr Andrews added there would be tough penalties for those who failed to comply with the restrictions.

“If you are outside or in your backyard gathering with more than two people, or if you’re having friends over for dinner or friends over for drinks that are not members of your household then you are breaking the law. Victoria police will not hesitate to take action against you,” he said.

At a federal level Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for restrictions to help shield the public and Australia’s health system, from the impact of the outbreak.

Countries worldwide have all had to resort to restrictions in the battle against the virus.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has issued a two week ban on all non-essential work while US President Donald Trump has extended social distancing requirements to the end of April.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told the public the key to beating COVID-19 is physical distance.

She’s pledged to eliminate the virus from New Zealand.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the federal government is pursuing a suppression strategy which may result in the elimination of coronavirus from the country.