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Over 70s and those with compromised immunity should stay at home – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Over 70s and those with compromised immunity should stay at home – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The New Zealand Prime Minister urges those over 70 and those with pre-existing conditions to stay home in the latest COVID-19 announcement.

Over 70s and those with compromised immunity should stay at home – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has addressed the nation and outlined a new alert system for COVID-19.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented event, a global pandemic,” said Ardern.

Ardern said that while most who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms, there are at-risk groups that will need more care.

“We have to focus on one simple goal: to slow down COVID-19,” said Ardern. “We have to be ready to step up our action plan when we need to.”

As part of the announcement, Ardern explained the new four-level alert system for COVID-19. She explained that the different levels of alert could apply to the whole nation, or could be applied to certain cities. 

Currently, New Zealand is at level 2 which means that the disease is contained but the risk is growing. Ardern explained that at this level we need to reduce our contact with one another, we need to work different and cancel domestic travel.

“The risk is growing,” said Ardern. “So to stay ahead, we need to step things up.”

The prime minister asked that people over the age of 70, those with underlying health conditions and respiratory conditions stay at home and limit their contact with others. 

Ardern has also asked businesses who are not already doing so to implement working from home and for New Zealanders to limit their domestic travel.

Schools will remain open and Ardern reiterated that schools will be closed if there is a case that affects schools. 

Ardern reassured New Zealanders that if and when the alert level is stepped up, that access to supermarkets and pharmaceuticals will continue.

“I ask that New Zealand does what we do so well. We are a country that is creative and community-minded.

“We know how to rally. We know how to look after one another.

“Be strong, be kind, and unite against Covid-19.”

It is the first time that Ardern has made an official address to the nation.

The official address comes following an earlier press conference with Director of Health Ashley Bloomfield who confirmed 14 news cases of COVID-19, bringing New Zealand’s total to 53. While most cases are travel related, Bloomfield said that a link to community transmission cannot currently be ruled out as two cases have no link to overseas cases. 

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