April 20, 2020
Recovery room with restrictions as lockdown end nears
New Zealand is moving out of Level 4 lockdown on Tuesday, May 28 – but don’t throw a party just yet.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says socially Level 3 is not much different than Level 4, but there are big differences economically.
Construction, manufacturing and forestry can resume, as well as contactless retaining, but restrictions on social activities including funerals and weddings will remain.
“It’s a recovery room with restrictions,” she told today’s post-cabinet briefing.
“We feel a huge responsibility not to lose any gains.”
Cabinet will review the Level 3 restrictions on May 11, after another cycle of transmission.
She says New Zealand has done what few countries have not been able to do, stopping a wave of infections.
The transmission rate is just 0.48, compared with overseas where each person with COVID-19 infected 2.5 others.
It has the fewest cases per 100,000 people, the lowest proportion of serious cases and one of the lowest mortality rates, with just 12 deaths so far.
There is one of the highest testing rates per capita and that will continue, including in remote areas and among Māori communities.
Over the weekend more than 1000 people were tested at random with not a single positive result, creating confidence there was no widespread undetected community transmission.
Ms Ardern says elimination does not mean zero cases but zero tolerance for new cases.
That means when a new case emerges there will be contract tracing and isolation every time.
Businesses and schools can use this week to prepare, including cleaning, maintenance and going in to work to receive supplies, but social distancing and hygiene measures need to be followed.
There were just nine new cases of COVID-19 reported today, seven confirmed and two probable, bringing the total to 1440.
There are 14 cases in hospital, down four on yesterday, and 62 people recovered, bringing the total of recovered cases to 974.
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