NZ in lockdown – schools shut

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a total NZ lockdown for a month.

Schools, ECE centres and universities in New Zealand are closed until further notice (from Tuesday March 24).

Children of people working in essential services can still attend school until the end of the school day on Wednesday March 25th so parents don’t have to make emergency childcare arrangements.

All schools will then be closed to all students for at least four weeks.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said funding for educational institutes would continue.

The action is included in a range of severe emergency measures outlined by the government (Alert level 4) to slow the community spread of the Covid-19 virus which is expected to ramp up over the coming weeks.

In the lead-up to the announcement, teacher unions had urged the government to shut schools amids fears family members, especially elderly, could be contaminated.

Already, schools had cancelled sport competitions, field trips and large assemblies after the ban of gatherings of more than 500 people.

Hipkins said parents of children with learning disabilities should talk to their schools.

Essential services – such as supermarkets, banks, GPs, pharmacies, service stations, couriers and other important frontline service providers – remain open.

The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said regions could have alert level 4 lifted depending on what happened in the next month.

Leaving the house for exercise or for a walk is still allowed but only solitary. People could also go outside with those in the same household but must keep a distance of 2m from others.

Public transport will only be available for people in essential services, or to move essential goods or people working in essential services.

Police are ensuring people don’t flout the strict quarantine rules.