Coronavirus: "Be responsible citizens... do not be discouraged" - Jacinda Ardern

coronavirus 25/03/2020

The Prime Minister told the Ryan Bridge Drive Show, “based on our current trajectory we could hit our peak [number of cases], it could be thousands", but assuring the nation, "do not be discouraged".

The Prime Minister made the comments as we approach the final seven hours before the country enters Covid-19 Alert Level 4, beginning a total nationwide lockdown.

The interview also takes place just hours after the Government declared a State of Emergency and signed an epidemic notice giving the Government powers to make effective changes quickly.

Ryan begins the interview by asking the Prime Minister about new measures introduced for newly arriving citizens into New Zealand

In her press conference at 3pm earlier on Wednesday the Prime Minister raised the issue of New Zealand residents returning home to the country and some of the measures they will be met with.

Ryan followed up for clarification with Ardern confirming that symptomatic citizens will be placed under quarantine provided by the Government. 

One of the measures being put in place is fines for people found to be disregarding the Government's lockdown measures, as well as the potential for police to quarantine people.

Ryan asked the Prime Minister for an approximate number for how many might be quarantined by the Government.

It could be as many as 10,000, that’s just a rough estimate.

Ryan also addresses the concerns the Prime Minister raised about Covid-19 positive numbers continuing to rise in the early days of Alert Level 4.

The Prime Minister urged listeners, “not to be discouraged” by a rise in the numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the first weeks of lockdown.

It is dependent on all New Zealanders to follow the rules.

Following concerns raised by callers to Magic Talk on Tuesday Ryan asked the Prime Minister about food producing businesses marked as essential continuing to export food to foreign markets.

He questioned the Prime Minister whether it is fair for New Zealand workers to be forced to expose themselves to risk for the benefit of a business shipping food overseas, especially at a time when businesses, and employees alike, across the country are facing difficult lockdown measures.

Ardern tells Ryan, "we want as few people as possible coming into contact with one another." Ryan then asked the Prime Minister whether she had anything to say about businesses raising the cost of essential goods.

Be responsible citizens, this is an extraordinary time. This is not a time to be profiteering.

The Prime Minister clarified how smaller dairy and superette stores might operate citing a 'one in-one out' policy to reduce potential community transmission.

The conversation moved to issues of how to maintain your personal social bubble during the lockdown, including a hypothetical of what to do if your elderly relatives were outside your immediate bubble.

Watch the full interview above.