Coronavirus Update! New Zealand becomes latest country to close non-essential services

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Wellington: New Zealand will issue its highest alert level and close all non-essential businesses across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a news briefing on Monday.

The highest alert, level 4, will be issued in 48 hours amid the worsening outbreak, she said. New Zealand has 102 confirmed coronavirus cases and no deaths.

All non-essential businesses, such as bars, gyms, and cinemas, will be required to close. All schools will be closed from Tuesday, while supermarkets and service stations will remain open, she added.

She said the new measures will “place the most significant restriction on New Zealanders’ movements in modern history,” but said it would be necessary to protect lives after the country recorded local transmission of the coronavirus.

According to the New Zealand government, the Alert Level 4 means there is a “widespread outbreak” and “sustained and intensive transmission” across the country.

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