New Zealand deputy leader said China asked them not to lockdown
New Zealand deputy leader reveals China pressured the country NOT to go into lockdown – accusing Kiwis of ‘overreacting’ to the deadly coronavirus
- Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters claims China told NZ not to lockdown
- He said China ‘thought it was an overreaction’ to lockdown due to COVID-19
- Mr Peters said it was in order to ‘protect our own people’ from the killer virus
- On Thursday, New Zealand eased restrictions from level three down to level two
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
China tried to persuade New Zealand not to go into lockdown despite the threat of the deadly coronavirus, the country’s foreign minister Winston Peters has claimed.
He revealed Chinese politicians accused the country of ‘overreacting’ to the impending crisis.
Australia and New Zealand both acted quickly to shut their borders – particularly with China, where the outbreak began – leading to some of the lowest infection rates in the world.
Mr Peters, who is also the country’s deputy prime minister, said his first call regarding the COVID-19 crisis was with his Chinese counterpart.
‘Without speaking out of turn, they wanted a discussion as to why we were doing it, because they thought it was an overreaction,’ he told Stuff’s podcast.
‘They didn’t want us to go into lockdown … and I suppose they wanted a discussion about that.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (pictured on March 12) revealed that his first call as foreign minister was speaking to his counterpart in China who asked them not to lockdown
‘We had a long discussion, but in the end I said, “look, you’ll understand we’ve heard what you’ve got to say; that we’ve got to protect our own people, and as fast as we can”.
‘And it ended up with, ”Well, I hope I see you one day,” sort of thing.’
New Zealand went into lockdown on March 25 in order to protect its citizens from COVID-19, which had already killed thousands of people around the world.
People were ordered to maintain social distancing and were only allowed out with one other family member for essential items.
Following a strict seven week lockdown, the country has slowly lifted some restrictions from level four to level two.
Barbers give haircuts to customers at the French Barber on Thursday in Wellington, New Zealand (pictured) as restrictions ease to level two
A wet market in the Chinese coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan is seen open on May 4 (pictured) despite such markets believed to be the source of the virus
As of Thursday, the country eased further restrictions from level three to level two which will allow retail businesses, cafes, gyms and playgrounds to open.
Friends and family will also be allowed to gather outside of their households as long as safety measures are followed.
‘As of today we have only 90 New Zealanders recorded with the virus, with only two in hospital,’ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said to parliament.
‘None of it has been through luck, but rather through hard work.
‘We are ready to move to level two, to open up the economy, but to do it as safely as possible.’
On May 18, schools and early learning centres will operate as usual with students expecting to return to normal.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured, right) with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (left) in Wellington, New Zealand on Thursday
Police stop vehicles to heading north on state highway one at Warkworth on April 9 in Auckland, New Zealand (pictured)
New Zealand has suffered a total of 21 deaths from COVID-19 and has no reported cases in the last three days.
Tensions between Australia and China continue to escalate as the government calls for a review from China to understand ‘exactly’ how coronavirus originated.
In the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak in Australia the federal government was told that the deadly virus may have been leaked from a Wuhan lab.
The Morrison government was told in February there was a 50 per cent chance it was accidentally released from a bio-containment facility located in the initial Chinese virus epicentre before more became known about it.
The government now believes it’s unlikely the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the virus which has claimed 89 lives in Australia and more than three million worldwide.
Vendors wearing masks sell seafood on Xihua Farmer’s Market in Guangzhou, China on May 4 (pictured)
Locals in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, are seen being tested on May 14 (pictured)
It comes after it was revealed two senior scientists from the lab – Peng Zhou and Shi Zhengli – previously studied bats at the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory as part of research funded by both the Australian and Chinese governments.
‘We want a clear, independent, fearless global review of the origins, the actions, and the global path forward, in relation to this and all future pandemics,’ federal health minister Greg Hunt told the Daily Telegraph.
The work of Mr Zhou and Ms Zhengli is being examined by intelligence agencies from the ‘Five Eyes’ network comprising of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the US as part of their investigations into the origins of coronavirus.
This later caused trade tensions as China banned meat exports from four Australian abattoirs as trade tensions between the two nations escalate in the wake of the coronavirus spread.
The Australian government now believes it’s unlikely that China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured) was the source of the virus
Shi Zhengli (left) and Peng Zhou (right) jointly wrote a paper in January that said the new coronavirus probably originated from bats, similar to SARS
The meat suppliers – three from Queensland and one from New South Wales – sell around $1 billion worth of meat to China each year, making up around a third of total beef exports to our biggest trading partner.
China also threatened to slap an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, a move which would cripple the industry.
The Kilcoy Pastoral Company, Beef City in Toowoomba, Brisbane’s Dinmore meatworks and the Northern Co-operative Meat Company at Casino, New South Wales have been temporarily blacklisted.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told Daily Mail Australia the suspensions were due to ‘highly technical issues’ around labelling and health certification.
‘My expectation is that the technical issues have all been addressed,’ he told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
A hairdresser is seen back at work in Auckland, New Zealand, on Thursday after restrictions were lifted (pictured)
A bottle of hand sanitiser is seen at a Wellington restaurant on Thursday (pictured) after restrictions were lifted
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