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New Zealand leader carries on with TV interview during quake

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 06: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during her post-Cabinet media update at Parliament on April 6, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand has been in lockdown since Thursday 26 March following tough restrictions imposed by the government to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the country. A State of National Emergency is in place along with an Epidemic Notice to help ensure the continuity of essential Government business. Under the COVID-19 Alert Level Four measures, all non-essential businesses are closed, including bars, restaurants, cinemas and playgrounds. Schools are closed and all indoor and outdoor events are banned. Essential services will remain open, including supermarkets and pharmacies. Lockdown measures are expected to remain in place for around four weeks, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warning there will be zero tolerance for people ignoring the restrictions, with police able to enforce them if required. (Photo by Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images via CNN)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern barely skipped a beat when an earthquake struck during a live television interview Monday morning.

She interrupted Newshub host Ryan Bridge to tell him what was happening at the parliament complex in the capital, Wellington.

“We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here Ryan, quite a decent shake here,” she said, looking up and around the room. “But, um, if you see things moving behind me.”

New Zealand sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is sometimes called the Shaky Isles for its frequent quakes.

Monday’s magnitude 5.6 quake struck in the ocean about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Wellington, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake hit just before 8 a.m. and was felt by thousands of New Zealanders who were getting ready to start their work weeks. It was strong enough to rattle food from shelves and stop train services.

But there were no reports of major damage or injuries.

Ardern continued on with her interview, telling the host the shaking had stopped.

“We’re fine Ryan,” she said. “I’m not under any hanging lights, I look like I’m in a structurally sound place.”

Ardern, who has been leading the country’s health and economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, said later that the thought going through her head when the quake struck was: “Are you serious?”

A 2011 quake in the city of Christchurch killed 185 people and destroyed much of the downtown area. The city is continuing to rebuild.

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