Coronavirus lockdown: PM defends not quarantining everyone arriving into NZ

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 25 Mar 2020, 5:29PM
Jacinda Ardern spoke with Heather du Plessis-Allan before the lockdown comes into effect. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Coronavirus lockdown: PM defends not quarantining everyone arriving into NZ

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 25 Mar 2020, 5:29PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended her decision not to quarantine everyone arriving into New Zealand as the country enters lockdown.

"We expected we'll have roughly 10,000 people coming in, until, roughly, the end of the month," she told Heather Du Plessis-Allan.

"We need to make sure that what we do with New Zealanders coming home is protect the health of them and protect the health of others."

This meant quarantining those that were symptomatic, weren't planning to self-isolate or didn't have the means to safely return to their home to self-isolate.

Police have and will be doing spot checks on those that have returned to New Zealand, she said.

"If they are not doing what they are meant to be doing, we will quarantine them and fine them."

She said there were limitations on how many people could be safely quarantined in a facility, and pointed to cruise ships such as the Diamond Princess as an example of community spread of Covid-19.

Ardern reiterated that it was now on all New Zealanders to do their part.

"Everybody has to now move into a space where we all act like we have Covid-19."

Businesses taking the available wage subsidy but firing their staff were committing fraud and police should be informed of this.

Police will be out and about from tomorrow and may ask people who are on the street where they are going and why.

"Common sense will apply and the police will be applying the same practices they do everyday when they're assessing if people are out as they should be.

"There is no reason for us to have roadblocks in and out of centers, because ultimately, everyone is in lock down."

She urged New Zealanders to "stay local".

When asked about the possibility of mercy flights for stranded Kiwis, she said the issue was the closing window of opportunity.

"We gave the warning that they needed to come back, now we're saying that many New Zealanders need to stay where they are, because many of the transit routes are shutting down."