A man unpacks his shopping trolley in the carpark at a supermarket in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, March 23, 2020. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would be going into full lockdown for about four weeks starting Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
UPDATED 7:39 AM PT — Monday, March 23, 2020
New Zealand is preparing to enter a month-long nationwide lockdown as the country works to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the move Monday. She noted that the island will immediately enter a 48-hour self-isolation period before beginning the four-week shutdown on Wednesday.
The measure, which is New Zealand’s highest alert level, has called for the closure of all non-essential services, including schools, offices, bars, restaurants and movie theaters. Ardern went on to point out that the restrictions are essential in helping save lives and slow the virus.
“These decisions will place the most significant restrictions on New Zealanders’ movements in modern history,” stated the prime minister. “This is not a decision taken lightly, but it is our best chance to slow the virus and to save lives.”
This comes as New Zealand has a confirmed over 100 coronavirus cases in the country.