The Prime Minister last night closed the country’s borders to all non-residents and noncitizens, saying ‘at no time in New Zealand’s history has a power like this been used’; and shutting schools prematurely could send school kids to their grandparents to be looked after, and elderly people are more susceptible to Covid-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.  

* The New Zealand Herald

In the New Zealand Herald, the Prime Minister last night closed the country’s borders to all non-residents and noncitizens, saying ‘at no time in New Zealand’s history has a power like this been used’. Eight new coronavirus cases were announced yesterday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 28. All are related to overseas travel. 

In other news, with the closure of New Zealand’s borders at midnight last night 12am today the Government has introduced the most drastic move in its coronavirus playbook to date. But some people can still come into New Zealand, including a small group of “exemptions”.

In business news, shutting schools prematurely could send school kids to their grandparents to be looked after, and elderly people are more susceptible to Covid-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. In response to Health Minister David Clark not knowing a precise number of Covid-19 testing kits in New Zealand, Ardern said there were 30,000 swabs as part of the testing capacity and 1500 tests could be done per day.

* The Dominion Post

In the Dominion Post, at 11.59pm yesterday, the New Zealand Government shut the border for the first time. That’s right: Literally seal New Zealand off and stop even the possibility of more foreigners bringing the coronavirus into New Zealand.

In other news, commuters in the capital experienced major delays on Thursday evening after a points failure at Wellington Railway Station. Metlink said in a statement that several of its services were affected, and passengers should expect congestion.

In business news, live Streaming into funerals and postponed weddings are on the cards after the Government announced its latest mass gathering measures. That big night at the pub may also be under threat. On Thursday, Health minister David Clark said indoor gatherings of more than 100 people would be banned as it steps up its fight against coronavirus.

* The Press

In The Press, New Zealand’s borders are closed and big crowds are banned as the Government shores up defences against a continuing assault by coronavirus. In a day of dramatic developments that saw the country’s tally of confirmed cases of the virus reach 28, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced only citizens and residents would be allowed into the country as of last night.

In other news, a Christchurch indoor sports centre had hoped to play on through coronavirus, but has suspended play on health advice. Action Indoor Sports’ central Christchurch venue initially tried a twist on the conventional blood bin rule in many sports the sneeze bin which would force the game to be stopped, and sneezer and ball sanitised before play could continue.

In business news, conference organisers and caterers are scrambling to stay afloat after the ban on mass gatherings triggered a wave of cancellations. Trenz, the tourism industry’s major event, is just one of many events, concerts, parties, anniversaries and weddings which have immediately been canned following bans on mass gatherings of 500 and now 100 people.  
 

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