New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours

It has been confirmed that Alert Level Four takes effect from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

More from the Beehive/Prime Minister:

  • New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict
  • New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours
  • Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare

Level 3, from tomorrow

  • Non-essential businesses must close
  • All events and gatherings must be cancelled
  • Schools will only open for children of essential workers. They will close completely when we move to Level 4
  • Workplaces must implement alternative working with everyone who can to work from home
  • No discretionary domestic air travel between regions
  • Public transport for people undertaking essential services and transport of freight only


New Zealand has moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict, for the next 48 hours before moving into Level 4 – Eliminate, as New Zealand escalates its response to stop the virus in its tracks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

“Due to the early and strong steps we’ve taken, New Zealand is fortunate not to be as hard-hit by the virus as other countries but the trajectory is clear. We are under attack like the rest of the world and must unite to stop the worst from happening here,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“If community transmission takes off in New Zealand the number of cases will double every five days. If that happens unchecked, our health system will be inundated, and thousands of New Zealanders will die.

“Together we can stop that from happening and our plan is simple. We can stop the spread by staying home and reducing contact.

“Moving to Level 3, then 4, will place the most significant restrictions on our people in modern history but they are a necessary sacrifice to save lives.

“At Level 3, we are asking non-essential businesses to close. This includes bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries and other places where people gather together.

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

“Gatherings, indoors or out, and of any shape or size, must be cancelled. This means weddings, birthday celebrations and other gatherings.

“Workplaces should have everyone working from home. Essential services will stay open at every level, but must put in place alternative ways of working including physical distancing of staff of two metres.

“Schools will be closed from tomorrow, except to children of essential workers who still need to go to work each day including doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police. This will be temporary, and schools will close entirely from midnight Wednesday.

“The school term break will be brought forward. For the remainder of this week and through the term break schools will establish ways to deliver teaching online and remotely as quickly as they can.

“Public transport and regional air travel is restricted to those involved in essential services and freight, with domestic air travel permitted in some cases for people to leave the country and to get home to self-isolate. Private travel is allowed.

“I say to all New Zealanders: The Government will do all it can to protect you. Now I’m asking you to do everything you can to protect all of us. Kiwis – go home.

“Today, get your neighbour’s phone number, set up a community group chat, get your gear to work from home, cancel social gatherings of any size or shape, prepare to walk around the block while keeping a two-metre distance between you.

“If in doubt, don’t go out.

“These measures will be in place for four weeks at this point.

“New Zealand is fighting an unprecedented global pandemic and it will take a collective effort of every single New Zealander doing the right thing to give us our best shot at curtailing community outbreak,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Further details available at

It has been confirmed that Alert Level Four takes effect from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Leave a comment


  1. artcroft

     /  23rd March 2020

    Worst decision ever. The downside will completely eclipse the upside.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  23rd March 2020

      Insanity. The financial and social price will be appalling. Four weeks is a long time to be in solitary confinement. The effect on mental health will be immeasurable.

      • artcroft

         /  23rd March 2020

        Yep. As for the mortality rate; the govt runs the risk for simple robbing Peter to pay Paul. Some will have their lives extended by the shutdown and some will have them shortened. Ardern will be profusely thanked by some but for every plaudit there’ll be a bucketful of bile.

      • duperez

         /  23rd March 2020

        Insanity? Insanity is not listening to experts. Insanity is not listening to multi-dimensional multi-disciplinary perspectives of the knowledgeable but listening to strident voices of the ignorant and one dimensional and paying heed to them.

        Ardern won’t be thanked by those who are alive who don’t realise they’re alive because she was part of an apparatus which made the decisions.

      • The effect on mental health of dying from COVID-19 because you refused to self-quarantine will be immeasurably worse.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  24th March 2020

          You might say so but many people decide dying peacefully is preferable to living in distress.

  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  23rd March 2020

    Don’t die in the next four weeks, or get married….

  3. oldlaker

     /  23rd March 2020

    Can anyone tell me whether incoming passengers from overseas are going to be quarantined from Wednesday evening?
    Surely we’re not shutting down almost the entire country and still letting people come in from overseas without strict quarantine?
    There was nothing in Ardern’s speech about it, and no one asked that question afaik. It will be the most stupendous stupidity if we are still importing disease…


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