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Key developments in the past 24 hours

New Zealand is about to go into lockdown.

From midnight on Wednesday the entire country enters level 4 of the Covid-19 threat alert system. That means, with the exception of essential services, the one clear message is for people to stay home.

Schools are closing to all but the children of those in essential services, universities have been  told to close, and non-essential businesses will shut. Airplanes, ferries, and public transport including trains and buses will be available only for those working in essential services after midnight Wednesday.

Globally, the number of new detected cases is at an all-time high.

Italy, with 59,138 cases, is nearing China's total of 81,601. The Italian number of deaths has now easily surpassed China but for the second day the number of new cases has decreased.

Current situation in New Zealand

Thirty-six new cases of coronavirus were announced on Monday bringing the total number of cases to 102.

None of those new cases appeared to be a result of community transmission though two of them may have been, the Ministry of Health said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand had gone to alert level three, and was moving up to four - the most-extreme - at midnight on Wednesday. Descriptions of the alert levels are below.

Only essential services - including border control, accommodation for essential workers, the health sector, national security - and can continue to operate.

Immigration New Zealand has been inundated with calls and emails after the Government closed borders to everyone except New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families on Thursday.

Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer as long-term rentals instead.

The new alert system was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a wartime-like address to the nation on Saturday.

The alert levels

- Alert Level 1 was where Covid-19 was here, but contained. This was a phase of preparation, which included introducing border measures, contact tracing and cancelling mass gatherings. These had been activated.

- Alert Level 2 was where the disease was contained but the risks were growing as cases grew. At this stage people would need to reduce contact with others. There would be increased border measures and events would be cancelled. People would also be required to work differently, and from home as much as possible. All non-essential travel would need to be cancelled.

- Alert Level 3 was where the disease was increasingly difficult to contain. Public venues and non-essential businesses would need to close.

- Alert Level 4 was when there was sustained transmission. Everyone would need to be isolated from each other. Essential services would continue, but everyone would be asked to stay at home.

Latest travel advice for Kiwis

New Zealand's borders have been closed to almost all travellers from 23:59 since Thursday last week.

Exceptions can be made, on a case-by-case basis, for humanitarian reasons, for health and essential workers, Tongan and Samoan citizens for essential travel, and those on visitors who are the partner or dependent of a temporary work or student visa holder, and who normally lives in New Zealand and is currently in New Zealand.

No foreign traveller can enter New Zealand.

Returning residents and citizens must self-isolate for 14 days.

New Zealanders should not travel overseas and any currently overseas should return home as soon as possible.

While New Zealand is at  alert level three, people can travel domestically to get home but social distancing is urged. When we go to level four at midnight on Wednesday, air travel will be for those in essential services and for the transport of freight.
Current toll for Coronavirus

Worldwide there were 332,935 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across 189 countries, areas or territories, according to the WHO. Of those 14,510  people had died, according to the latest available figures.

What should I do?

Wash hands properly, cough and sneeze into your elbow, bin tissues immediately, stay home.
From 11.59pm on Wednesday stay home unless involved in essential services. Prepare for four weeks of this.

You can go out to supermarkets, and likely some other essential services. Keep two metres from anyone you do come into contact with.

If you think you are sick, call your GP before you visit. Or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. If you have returned from overseas, self-isolate for 14 days.

For all your emergency alerts go to www.lert.info




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