'You are not alone' - Jacinda Ardern's message to New Zealanders

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"I know how hard this will be, especially for New Zealanders who face the first day unemployed and with an uncertain future", she added.

"You can not physically quarantine every person coming back to New Zealand at the moment, so you focus on those who are high risk, and those with symptoms in particular".

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were 47 confirmed cases and three probable cases bringing the total number of confirmed and probable cases to 205.

At 12.21pm, the state was declared by the Minister for Civil Defence Peeni Henare. Eight people who arrived in Auckland airport yesterday tested positive for Covid-19. "Stay at your hometown and don't go anywhere", Muhyiddin said.

A mobile alert will be sent between 6pm and 7pm tonight to advise New Zealanders about the state of emergency.

Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black said the emergency was declared due to the "unprecedented nature of this global pandemic".

"Each of you has a role in helping to save a life", she said.

Legislation will keep the state of emergency in place for seven days, but it can be extended.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said to the country to behave as if they had the coronavirus and cut all physical contact outside their household when it heads into a one-month lockdown at midnight.

"We're hoping that people have heard the messages and understand how horrendous this could get".

Despite the rising number of cases, most who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.

Up to 10,000 Kiwis could come home by the end of the month, and some of them may pose a health risk. It also provides access to powers that would not normally be available but would be needed to support the delivery and timely response to Covid-19.

While Ardern acknowledged military enforcement of the lockdown policies might seem daunting at first, she ensured Kiwis they would be able to go outside and get fresh air without being questioned by authorities.

"It's got to stop guys", Countdown spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin told Radio New Zealand "It's not our fault the shelves are empty, it's the way people are shopping, and it really isn't necessary".

"We will not get everything right, every time".

"Some examples are: Powers of requisition to manage wider consequences, for example, providing for the conservation and supply of fuel and other essential supplies; closing of roads; stopping people doing activities that may contribute to the emergency; excluding people from places; prohibiting or regulating traffic".

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