Jacinda Ardern has announced when New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3

Publish Date
Monday, 20 April 2020, 5:38PM

On Monday, April 27 at 11.59pm New Zealand will move from Alert Level 4 down to Alert Level 3.

The country remains in Alert Level 4 until this time.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today, April 20, that the move will be made one week from today, giving Kiwis time to prepare for the move.

The move to Alert Level 3 will then be reassessed after two weeks.

Ardern made the announcement just after 4pm today. Cabinet wanted to "lock in some gains" and give more certainty, Ardern said.

Level 4 had originally been scheduled to lift on Thursday this week.

"Ultimately we have taken a balanced approach," Ardern said.

Ardern said at every point along the way with making decisions the Government was based on both health and economic advice but NZ was in the fortunate position that those were both linked.

Lifting late on Monday - a public holiday to mark Anzac Day which this year falls on a Saturday - was also recommended by Bloomfield.

Any businesses needing to prepare to move into level 3 could be accessed, Ardern said, as could schools to prepare. April 28 will be a teachers' only day and April 29 will be the first day of term.

On businesses accessing their premises, it wasn't an invitation to open or trade, she said - just to prepare.

On schools reopening, Ardern said they'd given an allowance for planning through letting staff go back.

Testing will continue this week to ensure all demographics in the community were reached, Ardern said.

Alert level 3 still has many restrictions and does not allow more social activity though allowing more commerce to re-open.

On whether the lockdown could be extended further, Ardern said she wasn't expecting "any surprises" with the case numbers and they were confident there wasn't community transmission.

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We will be moving to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday 28 April.⁣ ⁣ UPDATE:⁣ ⁣ The latest updates from the Prime Minister – Day of Alert Level 4:⁣ ⁣ • We have done what very few countries have been able to do. ⁣ ⁣ • Our transmission rate, the number of cases each person with the virus passes it onto, is now 0.48, less than half a person each. ⁣ ⁣ • Overseas the average is 2.5 people. We have amongst the lowest number of confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the world. ⁣ ⁣ • Our testing scaled up and we have now tested over 85,000 New Zealanders, one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world.⁣ ⁣ • The Director-General of Health is confident that there is currently no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand.⁣ ⁣ • In short, the effort of our team of 5 million has broken the chain of transmission and taken a quantum leap forward in our goal to eliminate the virus.⁣ ⁣ • But we must ensure that we do not lose any of the gains we have made either.⁣ ⁣ • On that basis, New Zealand will move out of Alert Level 4 lockdown on Tuesday 28 April.⁣ ⁣ • We will stay at Alert Level 3 for two weeks, before reviewing how we are tracking again, and making further decisions on May 11.⁣ ⁣ • The longer we are in lockdown, the less likely it is we will need to go back. ⁣ • Ultimately, we have taken a balanced approach, and one that the Director General of Health not only supported, but also recommended.⁣ ⁣ • This time we now have will be used to prepare. This week businesses will be allowed to get ready to open, including employers re-entering premises to receive stock if necessary. ⁣ ⁣ • Schools will be able to reopen soon after we move into Alert Level 3. Parents should keep children at home if they can, using distance learning. ⁣ Find our more on our website (link in bio).

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NZ has done what few countries had managed to do and crush Covid-19 - we have a transmission rate of 0.48% - one of the lowest in the world, she said.

Nearly every case is a result of overseas travel, an already confirmed case or a cluster.

Only 8 cases can't be traced to their source.

Random testing in communities had tested more than 1000 people and none had tested positive.

Bloomfield is sure there is no widespread community transmission, she said.

"We have broken the chain," Ardern said.

Cabinet has been meeting since 10.30am to decide whether the lockdown will be lifted on Wednesday at 11.59pm.

Watch Jacinda Ardern's full address to the country.

When we do eventually go into Alert Level 3 this is what life will look like ...

Life under Alert Level 3

  • High-risk that virus can bounce back so we must still "restrict contact"
  • Level 3 should be viewed as "recovery room"
  • If you are sick stay home and alert your doctor immediately
  • We should still stay home to save lives

Key difference from Level 4

  • Keep your bubble, but you can expand it a small amount, eg caregivers, children with a shared custody situation, or a single parent who wants the company of a relative
  • Keep your bubble exclusive and small

Business

  • Business moves from "essential" to "safe" work
  • People who can work from home should continue to do so
  • Some workers who cannot work from home may return to work, eg builders, forestry
  • Keep distance and hygiene practices on a high level
  • Face-to-face transaction bars, cafes, restaurants, malls retail stores remain closed
  • Food delivery, drive-thru, online shopping may return but must continue to be contactless

Schooling

  • Partial reopening of childcare and schooling for children years 1 up to year 10 only
  • Early Childhood Education centres can safely open, but will have limited capacity
  • Attendance is only for children who have no one who can look after them at home eg. parents who have to return to work
  • Children who can learn from home must stay home

Travel

  • Travel restrictions remain
  • Keep travel within your own region, eg if you live in Auckland, don't travel to Hamilton
  • Travel to only where it is necessary
  • Boating and jet skis are not allowed
  • Swimming, surfing and fishing from the shore allowed - but not if it is a new activity
  • Any sign of congregation all of this will be reviewed

Life events

  • Funerals to be attended by no more than 10 people
  • Wedding services to be attended by no more than 10 people
  • Only legal wedding ceremonies allowed, no receptions

Find out more information about Alert Level 3 at covid19.govt.nz.

- Additional reporting by NZ Herald and the NZME Radio Team