Covid 19 coronavirus: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on new Defence worker cases

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will address media this afternoon and is expected to be pressed on the latest Covid-19 developments.

There are four new cases of Covid-19 to report today, all imported cases in managed isolation facilities and no more community cases.

But a person who was a casual contact of a positive case on a flight from Auckland to Wellington has started feeling unwell and is awaiting tests results later today.

Ardern is also expected to reveal details about her Government’s small business agenda.

Speaking to a business audience last week, the Prime Minister said expanding the small business loan scheme and launching the flexi-wage subsidy programme were top of the Government’s to-do list before Christmas.

These were both Labour’s pre-election policies.

The small business loan scheme has been taken up by more than a quarter of New Zealand businesses.

It entitles eligible businesses to a $10,000 loan, plus an additional $1800 per full-time employee. The loan is interest-free if it’s paid back within a year, and 3 per cent a year every year after that.

Applications for this scheme were due to close on December 31 this year – but Labour promised to extend that by a further three years.

Ardern is also expected to reveal some details about a number of projects which will be fast-tracked, under the Resource Development Act, for development.

Covid-19 will also be a key part of her press conference.

Meanwhile, Ardern is likely to also be asked about the US Presidential election – specifically if Donald Trump should concede defeat.

On Saturday she congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory in the election, as well as acknowledging outgoing President Trump.

“New Zealand has enjoyed positive and co-operative relations with the United States over the period of the Trump Administration, especially in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Island regions.”

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