Coronavirus: Primary industries an 'essential service' under New Zealand COVID-19 alert system

Those in the farming and agriculture sector who provide supermarkets with food have been classed as an essential service under new COVID-19 alert levels.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that New Zealand's coronavirus alert has increased to level 3 and will rise to alert level 4 in 48 hours.

The increase follows the lift in confirmed COVID-19 cases to 102, with health officials warning community transmission was likely.

It will mean non-essential businesses must close, including pools, bars, cafes, restaurants, playgrounds.

Schools will close from midnight Wednesday, and Kiwis will be required to work from home to limit contact with others.

In announcing the new levels, Jacinda Arden said food suppliers were classified as an essential service.

"Those who are part of the food supply chain, who provide for our supermarkets, are part of our essential primary industry," said Ardern.

She said there had been talks with major industry players about the impact of the restrictions.

"We have already been talking with Fonterra, they have been making preparations for level 3 and level 4. Likewise I had contact with Federated Farmers today," the Prime Minister explained.

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