Jacinda Ardern talks closing NZ's borders and why we aren't shutting Kiwi schools yet

Last night New Zealand closed its borders to non-citizens and residence for the first time in history to combat the outbreak of Covid-19.

This morning Prime Minister joined Laura, Sam and Toni to discuss this decision, along with other concerns Kiwis may have about the virus that has sent much of the world into lockdown.

"I had just seen suggestion that not everyone who was visiting New Zealand was complying with the [self-isolation] requirements we were setting and I wasn’t willing to take any risks, so we’ve now shut it down," Jacinda Arden explained when asked about shutting the country’s border to foreign travellers.

Jacinda acknowledged that while it was an "extraordinary" choice to make, keeping Kiwis safe from the virus while the number of infected is still low, in turn, protects our economy.

She also touched on why Kiwi schools have yet to be shut down and she noted that they are taking every precaution, and will look at that option if the virus gets out into the wider community.

"I want just everyone to be assured that a huge amount of thought - including the scientific evidence and research - has gone into our decision making around schools," she told Laura, Sam and Toni.

"So the first thing, we’ve been looking at what countries have been doing who have successfully managed coronavirus.

"In places where they have gone for mass shutdowns, often that’s in places where they have community transmission, so it’s broken out and they can’t trace people properly.

"We’re in a situation where we still know of every case we have, who people have been in contact with."

Jacinda went on to explain that their process for when a case does reach a school is that they will shut down the school for 72 hours, so they can "contact trace" everyone who may have come into contact with that person and "self isolate them”, as well as thoroughly clean the school.

"Research now tells us [that] Covid-19 after 72 hours isn’t on a surface anymore," she said. "So we know that [72 hours] is a good time to reopen [a school]."

"If we get community outbreak and we are unable to trace it, then we rethink the way we’re using schools."

Watch above for the Prime Minister’s full interview above. For more information about how you can keep your family safe and healthy, visit covid19.govt.nz