OPINION: Hard and early our best defence

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Labour List MP for Rangitata Jo Luxton

You will have no doubt heard about the coronavirus (or Covid-19) outbreak that was first reported from Wuhan, China, at the end of last year.

The pandemic has already caused over (at the time of my writing) 14,000 deaths around the world.

We are experiencing an unprecedented global event.

Here in New Zealand we have moved to fight Covid-19 by going hard and going early.

This is a dynamic situation and the decisive action we take now can potentially prevent the worst.

We are pulling out all the stops to protect the health of New Zealanders, and the health of our economy.

Now that there is evidence of community transmission, we have stepped up our efforts to control the spread of the virus by moving New Zealand to the highest alert level of 4 as of midnight last night.

This means we will all need to go about life very differently to help slow down the spread of this virus.

We all have a role to play. We are all in this together.

This means that if you are not part of essential services, stay home and stop interactions with those outside of your household. Non-essential business premises must close.

This includes bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries and other places where people gather.

All events and gatherings must be cancelled, schools and early childhood education centres are now closed, workplaces must implement alternative working with everyone who can work from home, there is to be no discretionary domestic air travel between regions and public transport is only for people undertaking essential services.

These most serious restrictions will be in place for a minimum of four weeks, to help defeat the virus.

We need to make sure we continue to do what New Zealanders do best: look out for one another, check in on people who may be at risk, and unite against Covid-19.

There will be considerable disruption and we will all need to go about life differently, but the potential cost of not acting now is just too high.

None of us want to see our loved ones suffer, so let’s do what we do best, South Canterbury, let us look out for one another, check in on people who may be at risk, and unite against Covid-19.