Eerie images of New Zealand city streets completely empty reveal what life might look like in Australia under a stage three lockdown.
The photographs taken on the first day of New Zealand’s month-long shutdown show a deserted urban landscape with no traffic, open shops or pedestrians.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered the strict draconian measures on Monday after a surge in coronavirus infections.
The country of around 4.8 million people now has a total of 283 COVID-19 cases, however no deaths have been recorded.
To initiate the unprecedented shutdown, ominous air-raid-style sirens rang out across the nation’s major cities on Wednesday night warning residents to stay inside.
‘I wouldn’t expect us to see a slowdown any sooner than 10 to 12 days… it will get worse before they will get better,’ Ardern said when she declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.
‘There is a lag between the transmission and the manifestation of COVID-19 symptoms.
‘Over the next few weeks cases will go up, particularly as we have New Zealanders returning home (who) still represent the vast majority of cases.’
Ordering all Kiwis to stay in their homes, she warned the number of cases would soon be in the thousands if no action is taken.
‘I know how hard this will be, especially for New Zealanders who face the first day unemployed and with an uncertain future,’ Ardern said.
‘It won’t be easy, but the alternative is worse. You are not alone. You will hear us and see us daily as we guide New Zealanders through this period.’
Meanwhile, Australians are currently in the midst of a level two lockdown with all travel, public gatherings and non-essential services including bars, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and gyms now closed.
However schools, public transport, takeaway food shops remain open.
‘Australian governments are working together to slow the spread of coronavirus to save lives,’ Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday when he announced the strict new measures.
‘Every extra bit of time allows us to better prepare our health system and put measures in place to protect Australian lives.’
‘We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow this virus down must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives, allow Australia to keep functioning and keep Australians in jobs.’
But according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, it’s only a matter of time before further restriction will be put in place.
‘I’ll be up front with you, there will also be a stage three,’ he said.
‘We need more time to get our health system ready for what’s coming. Every country in the world that is running ahead of us would give anything to have had more time.’
‘We don’t take these actions lightly but to put it bluntly: if we don’t slow this thing down, we won’t just have people waiting in line for Centrelink – we’ll have people waiting in line for machines to help them breathe.’
Urging the public to follow social-distancing advice and obey the current lockdown measures, he added ‘there is no social occasion or celebration that’s worth more than a human life.’
‘We are all being asked to make sacrifices. Because if we don’t, people will die,’ Andrews said.