New Zealand implements alert system for COVID-19

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 21, 2020
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New Zealand is currently at Alert Level Two in a newly implemented alert system corresponding to COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Saturday in an official address.

The alert system operates in a similar way to terrorism alerts, with each step on the scale corresponding to a different level of threat. Alert Level One will be the lowest level of alert, and Alert Level Four will be the highest. Different response measures will be in place depending on the threat level.

"New Zealand is fighting an unprecedented global pandemic. We must fight by going hard and going early with new measures to slow the transmission of the virus," Ardern said.

Ardern said the New Zealand government is aimed to slow down a "tidal wave" of COVID-19 and break it into smaller waves, which would reduce the impact on the health system and the economy.

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 2, where the disease is contained but the risks are growing because New Zealand has more cases.

"This is when we move to reduce our contact with one another. We increase our border measures, and we cancel events. This is also the level where we ask people to work differently if they can, and cancel unnecessary travel," Ardern said.

People over 70 years of age, or people who have compromised immunity or have underlying respiratory conditions are requested to stay at home as much as they can at Alert Level Two.

At every alert level, supermarkets and essential services, like access to pharmaceuticals will continue, Ardern added.

The alert system will be used every time COVID-19 cases are updated in New Zealand.

Alert Level Four will be announced if there are sustained transmissions in the country. At the highest level, everyone will be asked to stay at home until COVID-19 is back under control, Ardern said.

"Be strong, be kind and unite against COVID-19", Ardern said in conclusion.

This is the first time Ardern has made an official address to the nation with regard to COVID-19.

There are currently 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

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