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Government declares State of Emergency

Parliament will adjourn for almost five weeks, after urgent business tomorrow to put the country into a State of Emergency and establish the coronavirus lockdown.

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins says MPs present will focus on receiving the epidemic notice from the Prime Minister and pass an Imprest Supply Bill, which will allow government funding to continue to flow.

To ensure the government is still held to account during the adjournment, there will be a special select committee chaired by Opposition leader Simon Bridges, or someone he nominates.

It will have powers similar to that of the privileges committee, enabling it to effectively interrogate the government on its epidemic response.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said today there were 40 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 155. There have also been four cases of community transmission, three in Auckland and one in Wairarapa.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)