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NZ Government: All events of more than 500 people should be cancelled

Tuesday 24 March 2020

NZ Government: All events of more than 500 people should be cancelled

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says gatherings of 500 or more people should be cancelled because of fears of Coronavirus.

This covered indoor and outdoor events, but not schools or universities, who would get more specific advice from the Ministry of Education.

Ardern said social distancing would be "the new normal" and places that hosted events would see detailed guidelines later in the week about how to host smaller events safely.

There was no time-limit on this advice from the Government.

On Sunday, Ardern indicated New Zealand would likely follow Taiwan in advising cancellation of crowded gatherings, which she said had been quite successful.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison has advised against all non-essential mass gatherings of more than 500 people, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has recommended no gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks

On Monday, organisers of Wellington's annual Homegrown music festival postponed it indefinitely. It was due to be held on Saturday.

Wellington's annual CubaDupa festival in late-March and Anzac Day commemorations could also be among a swath of upcoming music, sporting and cultural events unlikely to go ahead as the Government unveils more measures to halt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ardern announced on Saturday everyone arriving in New Zealand would have to self isolate for 14 days.

Repeating several times during a press conference in Auckland that it was time to "go hard, and go early," Ardern signalled there would be additional announcements on mass gatherings.

Image: Stuff.co.nz, from DAVE ROWLAND/GETTY