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“I want more tests” Ardern broadens criteria for COVID-19 testing

“I want more tests” Ardern broadens criteria for COVID-19 testing

In her media conference today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the new Easter trading hours for supermarkets, as well as an increase in testing for the virus. 

“I want more tests” Ardern broadens criteria for COVID-19 testing

Ardern started by acknowledging Kiwis for adapting to the lockdown measure. “I do not underestimate the challenge of living under alert level 4.”

Ardern said she was pleased to New Zealanders living in Australia are now eligible for the wage subsidy. “We’ve done the same for Australian’s living here,” said Ardern.

After the COVID-19 committee meeting today, there have been a number of changes.

The state of emergency has been extended for further 7 days.

Easter trading hours were also confirmed. Supermarkets will be closed on Good Friday but will be open on Easter Sunday. This is to “strike a balance between the workforce in supermarkets to get a well-earned break and supermarkets to restock…against the need of people to access supermarkets,” said the Prime Minister.

Ardern also addressed the role of media as an essential service. “Several publications have expressed concerns around this,” said Ardern. Acknowledging that New Zealanders need ongoing access to news, they have expanded the essential services for target newspapers for communities that are hard to reach. Non-daily magazines will continue to be non-essential.

On the topic of Personal Protective Equipment, Ardern says they are continuing to work to distribute more across the country to healthcare workers. Over 7 million face masks have been distributed.

Following the World Health Organisation’s advice to “test, test, test”, Ardern said they have broadened the testing definition to ramp it up. “Testing…needs to grow,” she says. “I want more tests, we’ve built the capacity for more tests. [They] will only help us get a better picture of the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. I’m not complacent here.”

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