Right now, there's a flurry of information - some true and some false. If you're getting a bit fatigued and just want the key, verified facts, check in here for rolling live updates.

5:30 pm Monday, March 23rd

Here's the geographic spread of Covid-19 cases as of today. We'll be updating this map daily.

COVID 19 MAP SQUARE MARCH 23

4:00 pm Monday, March 23rd

What's included in the term "essential services"? It includes the following:

  • Health
  • Covid-19 response, planning and logistics 
  • Civil Defence and emergency services
  • Key public services
  • Transport, freight and courier including Kiwirail and NZ Post
  • Teachers for essential services
  • Public safety and national security staff
  • Utilities and communications 
  • Building and construction
  • News media
  • Supermarkets and pharmacies
  • Social services
  • Financial services
  • Food producers
  • Biosecurity and animal health staff

Source: All of Government Controller John Ombler

The All of Government Controller John Ombler is speaking to a press conference now. He’s said:

Border: The influx of people into New Zealand has significantly reduced.

If people live close to where they land they can go directly home. If they do not live close, other self-isolation measures will be necessary.

The focus is on keeping exports and imports going as much as possible.

 

1:50 pm Monday, March 23rd

Essential services

The essential services of healthcare, supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open at all Alert Levels.

Health system response

Testing and contact tracing will continue at pace.

“If we flush out the cases we already have and see transmission slow, we will potentially be able to move areas out of Level 4 over time,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“Things will look worse before they look better. In the short term the number of cases will likely rise.”

Enforcement and role of the community

The Prime Minister said the government  “will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers if needed”.

“I know people will want to act as enforcers but we will play the role of enforcer.”

“What we need from our community is for you to support others. We will get through this together but only if we stick together so please be strong and be kind,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

 

12.30pm Monday, March 23rd

The Ministry of Health says there are two cases that are being treated as community transmission.

This means it is not clear where these people got the virus from, and there’s no clear link to someone else with the virus.

Today there are 36 new Covid-19 cases. Total = 102

Over half of the new cases are directly related to overseas travel. Most of the other cases are close contacts of a previously confirmed case.

“There are two cases that we cannot be certain where the infection came from. They are being treated as community transmission.”

Source: Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Ministry of Health Director-General

The Prime Minister will be giving an update at 1.30pm today.

 

12.00pm Monday, March 23rd

The United States White House has announced a task force for Covid-19 in the USA. New medical stations will be set up in New York, California and Washington, adding thousands of hospital beds. Source: White House Press Conference

Sir Peter Gluckman, the former Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, is saying on Twitter that the best thing New Zealand can do is to go into “extreme shutdown now”.

Event Cinemas will temporarily close nationwide.

Flight Centre is making 250 people redundant and closing 33 shops across New Zealand from today. Source: Flight Centre press release.

Emirates will close down all passenger flights worldwide by this Wednesday 25th of March. Cargo flights will continue as normal. Source: The Emirates Group press release

Tonga has closed its borders. Source: Prime Minister of Tonga on Tonga Broadcasting Commission.

Two of the eight suspected Covid-19 cases in Samoa have come back negative.