Usually the bustling streets were empty, traffic jams ceased to exist, and only a handful of people could be seen as the country entered the first day of the level 4 lockdown.
Auckland’s CBD was unrecognizably subdued compared to the usual bustling activity on its streets with only a few buses and garbage trucks making use of the nearly empty roads.
RNZ reporter Jordan Bond said there was hardly anyone in the city center this morning. While standing on Queen Street, he could only see three people, “This is much quieter than level 3 closures,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the capital, there were green lights in Courtenay Place, but there were no vehicles circulating, except for the occasional bus.
Rain fell on Wellington’s boardwalk as the sun rose and only a handful of people braved the cold to exercise, said RNZ reporter Jake McKee.
The central hub of Christchurch was abandoned on a cold and rainy morning, Colombo Street, which normally turns with bumper-to-bumper traffic in the morning, was dead on the first day of closure.
Garbage trucks along with deliveries of food and goods were the only vehicles circulating, said Kim Moodie of RNZ.
The only place where everything worked as usual in Christchurch was the supermarkets where RNZ’s Kim Moodie noticed some carts loaded with mega-packs of toilet paper.
Further south, the lights lined the Dunedin Octagon and the central streets, but no one was in sight.
A quiet start to the day in New Plymouth, so quiet that a local took advantage of the lack of foot traffic to clean the utility box outside his apartment.
This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.
All New Zealand You are now at Covid-19 Alert Level 4.
The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which will likely remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.
A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.
Stay at home whenever possible and follow level 4 alert guidelines. This will stop the spread of COVID-19 and SAVE LIVES.
All are asked to:
Wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 meters from others when you leave your house.
If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested.
Keep scanning QR codes every time you leave your home.
Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often.
Services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and gas stations will remain open at alert level 4.
For more information on Alert Level 4, go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]
RNZ is the Lifeline Utility legally responsible for radio broadcasts under the Emergency Management Act of 2002 and has a memorandum of understanding with the government that has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic. RNZ’s Lifeline Utility obligations do not affect our editorial independence as a public media organization or the rigor of our news gathering and reporting operations.
As New Zealand’s Lifeline Utility radio host, RNZ is required to maintain essential news and public information channels during times of national emergency and we are committed to supporting all New Zealanders.
We are also committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our staff.
RNZ will continue to provide essential information services, broadcasting and serving critical public service announcements over the air, on our website and through social media channels. The full news will be available on the air and through our website and digital services.
If necessary, RNZ Concert and RNZ Pacific will carry news and information from RNZ National. Parliament will continue to broadcast on the AM network when the House is in session. As the nation’s public service media organization, RNZ is committed to supporting all New Zealanders.
Kia Kaha – Stay strong