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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern implements alert system for COVID-19

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Wellington, March 21 (UITV/IANS)- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that the country has implemented a new alert system corresponding to the coronavirus pandemic

The alert system operates in a similar way to terrorism alerts, with each step on the scale corresponding to a different level of threat. Alert Level One will be the lowest level of alert, and Alert Level Four will be the highest. Different response measures will be in place depending on the threat level, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to Ardern, New Zealand was currently place on Alert Level Two, where the disease is contained but the risks are growing because New Zealand has more cases.

"New Zealand is fighting an unprecedented global pandemic. We must fight by going hard and going early with new measures to slow the transmission of the virus," shesaid.

Ardern said the New Zealand government is aimed to slow down a coronavirus "tidal wave" and break it into smaller waves, which would reduce the impact on the health system and the economy.

"This is when we move to reduce our contact with one another. We increase our border measures, and we cancel events. This is also the level where we ask people to work differently if they can, and cancel unnecessary travel," Ardern said.

People over 70 years of age, or people who have compromised immunity or have underlying respiratory conditions are requested to stay at home as much as they can at Alert Level Two.

At every alert level, supermarkets and essential services, like access to pharmaceuticals will continue, Ardern added.

The alert system will be used every time COVID-19 cases are updated in New Zealand.

Alert Level Four will be announced if there are sustained transmissions in the country. At the highest level, everyone will be asked to stay at home until COVID-19 is back under control, Ardern said.

"Be strong, be kind and unite against COVID-19", Ardern said in conclusion.

This is the first time Ardern has made an official address to the nation with regard to COVID-19.

There are currently 53 confirmed cases in New Zealand with no deaths.

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