Jacinda Ardern: New Zealand PM says country appears over worst virus, but no time to let up vigilance


WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday said the country appears to be over the worst of its coronavirus outbreak but it is no time to let up on strict lockdown measures.
The country recorded just 17 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 1,366. There were also four new deaths, the worst day yet on that measure, bringing the total number of deaths to nine.
New Zealand lawmakers will decide early next week what will happen after an initial four-week lockdown ends on April 22.
Meanwhile, as the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak hit New Zealand, the operators of the country’s Burger King restaurants have been placed into bankruptcy proceedings.
Also, one of the country’s largest media companies has announced plans to shed 200 staff.
New Zealand has been in a strict lockdown for nearly three weeks and all restaurants, including those serving fast food, have been temporarily closed. Company receivers KordaMentha said on Tuesday they hope to sell dozens of Burger King restaurants to a new franchise owner and get them reopened after the lockdown ends.
NZME, which runs a number of radio stations and newspapers, announced to the New Zealand stock market it is reducing its workforce by 15% through layoffs and by not filling vacant positions. NZME stock is down by more than 60% over the past year.
Earlier this month, German company Bauer Media announced it was closing its New Zealand operation and would no longer publish many of the country’s weekly magazines.


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