Watch live: Police deal with 367 breaches of Covid-19 lockdown

This article is published with permission under Kaniva News partnerships with Radio New Zealand.

Police have reported 76 new breaches of the lockdown rules in the past day, with 45 prosecutions now laid.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black are giving updates on the Covid-19 response.

Watch it live here:

Coster said police were continuing to receive a “huge number” of reports of breaches, and had received about 37,000 so far, mostly involving businesses.

He said people intending to travel out of town for Easter should change their plans and there will be police checkpoints.

“In terms of crime, based on the trends to date, we are not forecasting any increase over the coming period.

“Our initial data … suggests we can expect an increase in calls about mental health as people struggle with isolation.”

The number of police who have tested positive for Covid-19 remains at two, but about 600 police staff remain in isolation.

Coster said spitting had become an increasing risk to police, public, and health staff.

Eight police have had to self isolated after being spat at by people who said they had the virus or were showing symptoms.

He warned that people who spat on others, could be prosecuted and face up to 14 years in prison.

Stuart-Black also asked people to stay home over Easter.

For many, the last two weeks would have been “the longest of their life”, she said.

The phone outreach programme to support people over 70 living alone with no email address had made more than 11,000 calls to ask people how they were coping.

“It’s really heartening to know most of our over-70s are coping in isolation.

“If you need help accessing essential goods, financial services, it’s important you ask for help … help is available from your local Civil Deference Emergency Management.

Earlier this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, held their daily media conference on the response to the coronavirus.

The number of confirmed and probable Covid-19 cases has decreased again, with 26 confirmed and 24 probable cases in the past 24 hours.

See all of RNZ’s coverage of Covid-19

In a media conference this afternoon, the prime minister said she had cautious optimism but “now is the time to stay the course… we are only halfway through.”

Dr Bloomfield said there were some promising signs but he wanted to make sure there are no community outbreaks of a small nature out there that they haven’t located.

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