‘So far, so good’: New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern on a the first day of the lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spoken out against US President Donald Trump telling elected congresswomen to go back where they came from. Photo / Marty Melville. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

WELLINGTON, Mar 27, 2020, NZ Herald. New Zealand has another 85 new coronavirus cases today and one patient is now on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit. There are 76 new confirmed and nine probable cases. There are eight people in hospital and one of these patients was in intensive care, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters, New Zealand Herald reported.

The patient was in Nelson Hospital on a ventilator. The person had a significant underlying health issue and their condition had deteriorated in the past 24 hours.

The total of confirmed and probable cases is now 368 in this country.

This morning, the nation entered its second day of lockdown.

Thirty-seven people have now recovered from Covid-19, which Bloomfield said was defined as being symptom-free for 14 days.

Bloomfield said the number of people with the disease was expected to start to level off in roughly 10 days’ time.

He again called on anyone who was waiting to hear back about a test to stay in self-isolation.

The capacity for testing was now 2000 per day. That was on a par with Germany on a per capita basis, Bloomfield said.

A strong link to overseas travel was still being seen in New Zealand cases, he said.

The Government is circulating appropriate advice on personal protection equipment (PPE) and this will be on the Ministry of Health’s website later today.

The Government’s national pandemic supply of PPE consists of:
• 1.9 million aprons and gowns
• 2.7 million gloves
• 60,000 eye protection equipment

“All stones are being turned over to make sure there are enough PPEs for all healthcare works in New Zealand,” Bloomfield said.

Asked if there was an issue getting PPE equipment out across the country, Bloomfield said the distribution network was designed for non Covid-19 times. But that was being updated as the situation evolves: “The processes are getting in place.”

The key thing when it came to PPEs was providing guidance to healthcare professionals.

Bloomfield said he had not yet needed signed an order required to unlock the emergency supply of personal protection equipment.

More special powers for the Government may be used as the lockdown continues, Bloomfield said.

A total of 2500 retired health professionals had returned to the workforce to help with the Covid-19 outbreak response, Bloomfield said.

The director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, Sarah Stuart-Black, clarified that it was okay for people to go for a walk “locally” -but people were going to places where they might need others to come help them if they got in to trouble. That was not allowed, she said.

People were asked to stay out of the water because if they got into trouble they would need others to come and help them.

She reiterated that people should stay in their bubbles.

People should “use their judgment” when selecting exercise options.

Stuart-Black thanked people for mostly staying home.

Information from the police suggested that generally, people were doing the right thing. However, there were isolated reports of some people congregating.

Stuart-Black said those people were reminded about their obligations during alert level 4.

Over the coming days, the number of Covid-19 cases will continue to rise. “Hang in there”, was her advice.

Work and Income payments, such as the benefit, would continue while New Zealand was in lockdown.

Stuart-Black said if someone was a visitor to New Zealand and needed financial support, they should contact their embassy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media yesterday that the first day of the lockdown had gone well.

“So far, so good,” she said.

But an Auckland man is facing charges after being pulled over twice yesterday – he was not an essential worker and was not undertaking essential travel.

“The person was stopped last night and he was stopped the night before,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking.

“He had no reason to be out there. That does show our people [are on to it].

“Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t complying with a number of driving matters… he wasn’t entitled to have that car or to be out there.”

A police spokeswoman said the driver was stopped by the Auckland Motorways police team.

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