Coronavirus: Stop ringing 111 with your COVID-19 concerns, to dob people in - Police

Stop ringing police to dob people in who are not yet self-isolating. 

That's the message from authorities after the 111 came under "significant pressure" on Tuesday as the result of a larger than usual number of calls, many of which weren't emergencies.

From 11:59pm on Wednesday, New Zealand will be in lockdown in an attempt to contain coronavirus COVID-19 which is continuing to spread around the world at a rapid pace. More than 417,000 people have the respiratory illness worldwide, with 18,000 dead. In Aotearoa, there are 155 confirmed or probable cases. 

During the lockdown, people must stay indoors unless it is absolutely necessary for them to go out. Supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations and other essential businesses will continue to operate, but many on reduced hours or a one-in-one-out customer basis. Schools will also completely close and domestic travel will be severely limited.

Police said they acknowledge people are concerned, but they shouldn't ring the main 111 line unless it's absolutely necessary. 

"We understand that COVID-19 is having a significant impact on members of our community, and many people are feeling very anxious and unsettled," said Superintendent Dave Trappitt, national manager communication centres.

"However, it is absolutely vital that people only call 111 if they are facing an emergency situation – for example, someone is badly injured or in danger; there's a serious risk to life or property, such as a house fire; a crime is being committed and the offenders are there or have just left; or you've come across a major public inconvenience, like a tree blocking a road."

Supt Trappitt said people with concerns about those not self-isolating should email

"All other matters should be reported to police either by online reporting, or by calling 105," said Superintendent Trappitt.

During the lockdown there will be an increased police presence on the streets. Officers will be focussed on educating the public about the new rules, but won't rule out enforcement action if gatherings are occurring or there is disorder at essential businesses.