Coronavirus: Former Prime Minister Helen Clark commends Government response to COVID-19 pandemic

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has praised the Government, saying it has done the right thing by acting fast against the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with Newshub Nation on Sunday, Clark said the Government has clearly seen the catastrophic impact the virus has had overseas.

"I think looking at what's happening here, the New Zealand Government has taken on board that we need to go hard early," she told Newshub.

"The Government is very much following the advice it's getting and being informed by what has and hasn't occurred offshore."

Clark says the critical message is that all other business must be put on hold.

"Governments must repurpose now - there is no more important issue than stopping a huge outbreak and beating it back when there's already one."

Clark says New Zealand has acted early enough to slow the spread of infection but there's no way to predict how long the pandemic will impact daily life. 

"It's going to be a day by day, week by week process on this."

New Zealand currently has 52 cases of COVID-19. Most cases are linked to overseas travel but in two cases the link is not clear. This means community outbreak cannot be ruled out.

New Zealand has now implemented a four-level alert system for COVID-19, and we're currently at level 2.

This means the disease is contained, but the risks are growing because we have more cases.