New Zealand / Covid 19

Covid-19: What will alert level 1 look like?

17:53 pm on 7 June 2020

It has been 16 days since the last new case of Covid-19 was reported and the promising news could mean a move into alert level 1 sooner than expected.

File photo. Photo:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last week that Cabinet would consider the move on 8 June, earlier than previously indicated.

She said it was the government's "strong desire" to get to level 1 as soon as it was safe and possible.

Once the decision was made, the country would be given a period of time to transition - but Ardern said there was a possibility New Zealand could be at alert level 1 by 10 June.

"Within the last week we removed restrictions on bars and by Monday we'll have a good view on whether that's led to more cases," she said.

"As long as we kept seeing the results that we're seeing now [then it is possible to move to level 1] ... if we see cases at the border then that also shouldn't derail our progress, because those of course are cases of individuals who are in quarantine."

While strict border controls will remain under under alert level 1, all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services will be "essentially lifted".

Ardern said the golden rules under alert level 1 were:

  • If you are sick, stay home
  • If you have cold or flu-like symptoms get tested
  • Wash your hands, Wash your hands, Wash your hands
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow and regularly disinfect shared surfaces
  • If you are told by health authorities to self isolate you must do so immmediately
  • If concerned about your wellbeing or you have underlying health conditions consult with your GP
  • Keep track of where you've been and who you've seen so we can use that for contact tracing if needed
  • Businesses should help with rule seven by displaying a QR code
  • Stay vigilant

The lower alert level would also mean that community sport could restart without physical distancing requirements.

However, physical distancing is still "encouraged" at level one.

Gatherings of any size would also be allowed to take place, including funerals and tangihanga.

Intensive testing for Covid-19 would continue to take place and contact tracing efforts would remain. The goverment would also encourage people to use "contact diaries", in case of another outbreak.

Those who are sick should stay home and report any flu-like symptoms.

Ardern said there were still some risks for another outbreak, including asymptomatic transmission and the country heading into winter.

Just one case of Covid-19 remains active in New Zealand.