All racing ceases as country goes into lockdown to stem spread of Covid-19

All racing in the country will cease immediately after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today the Covid-19 alert level will be raised to level 4 in 48 hours.

The number of coronavirus cases rose overnight by 36 to 102 and Ardern says New Zealand faces the potential for devastating impacts, and there was a “small window to get ahead of it”.

Ardern raised the alert level to 3 immediately, and said all non-essential services now had to close, as would all schools, she said.

Ardern said the whole country must now go into self isolation and without these measures, tens of thousands of people could die, according to medical modelling considered by Cabinet today.

“The worst case scenario is simply intolerable,” she said.

“If community transmission takes off in New Zealand, the number of cases will double every five days.

“Now is the time to put our plans into action. We are fortunate to be in some way behind the majority of overseas countries in terms of cases … but act now or risk the virus taking hold.”

She said the situation was moving at pace “and so must we”.

Ardern said the country would be under level 4 restrictions for at least four weeks but in time the level could be reduced.

“Things will look worse before they are better but hopefully these measures will slow the virus down and prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

“All indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed. In short, we are all now preparing as a nation to go into self-isolation in the same way we have seen other countries do. Staying at home is essential.”

Ardern said the minimum period for the country to be in self isolation was four weeks.

“With everyone’s compliance, the hope is that we’ll see a slow in the trend of cases and we might then be able to lift restrictions in particular areas.”

Ardern stressed New Zealanders would continue to have access to essential services and she urged people not to panic buy at supermarkets.

The Prime Minister’s full announcement can be seen and read here:

Our runners this week

Friday night at Auckland

Copy That, American Dealer, Captain Nemo, Bondi Shake, Apieceoflou, Revitalise, Tommy Lincoln.

Dan Costello Race Photography