Continued support of lockdown will help save lives

27 Mar 2020, 5:31 PM

Feelings of uncertainty and not knowing exactly what to do is completely normal during lockdown, says Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Controller Julian Snowball on day two of the national state of emergency across New Zealand.   

“We have never been in this situation before and hopefully we will never be again, but there is light at the end of the tunnel if we stick with the lockdown. If you’re feeling anxious, that’s perfectly understandable.  There is support available; don’t be afraid to reach out.”   

Mr Snowball says there have been reports of people going swimming, surfing, fishing and using public reserves and tracks for exercise and he urges restraint.   

“People believe they are complying with the isolation requirements, if they are out exercising in the open air. Exercise is fine and good, but we need to moderate and change the way we exercise to reflect the purpose of the lock-down, which is to isolate from each other. Recreational activities such as outings to reserves and beaches are not appropriate forms of exercise in a lockdown. 

“Also, with regards to use of public services such as supermarkets and service stations – yes these are open, but we really need to restrict our movements and that includes how often we use them and who we interact with whilst we are there. Catching up with neighbours and friends at the supermarket is not appropriate.”   

Mr Snowball says we need to make the lockdown part of everyday life.    

“I know it feels uncomfortable, but everyone is in the same position. We are doing fine. Your continued support of the lockdown will save lives.”   

Challenges currently being faced by CDEM groups across New Zealand include transient people like visitors, freedom campers and the homeless. Every effort is being made to find accommodation or locations for them to self-isolate.   

“We have tourists in campervans and while many may be self-contained, most have nowhere to park up. We’re doing everything we can to make sure people get the assistance they need to comply with the self-isolation requirements.” 

In the meantime, foodbanks are feeling the indirect impacts of the virus; with donations reducing.  Civil Defence is looking for options to address this issue locally. 

Volunteering Waikato is taking expressions of interest from those who want to and are in the position to support their community during the COVID-19 response. People can register their interest at Please, be aware that your particular skills and experience may not be required immediately, and therefore you may not be contacted straight away.    

Being in lockdown makes us experience all sorts of things: anxiety, loneliness, fear. Need to talk? Free phone or text 1737.  

All health updates on COVID-19 or information on community-based assessment centres are managed by the Ministry of Health. Go to for more information.