While many New Zealanders enjoyed a long ANZAC weekend, the Prime Minister was back on Monday with her regular press update. She used the opportunity to recognise the high level of COVID-19 testing in New Zealand. We now have the capacity to perform up to 8,000 tests a day, meaning New Zealand has one of the highest testing rates in the world, per capita.
We officially moved into Alert Level Three at 11.59pm on Monday.
#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 responsePosted by Jacinda Ardern on Sunday, April 26, 2020
The Prime Minister began the first day of Alert Level Three reminding New Zealanders that we are not out of the woods when it comes to eliminating the virus. We made impressive gains in Alert Level Four and we cannot risk squandering those gains by taking risks, breaking the rules, and forgetting to stay vigilant.
As many New Zealanders return to work, including those working on New Zealand's critical infrastructure projects, we have the opportunity to begin kickstarting the economy again - but we must do this while continuing to practice physical distancing and staying safe.
The Prime Minister was joined at the post-Cabinet press conference by Minister of Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni. She announced a suite of Keep New Zealand Working initiatives to help people looking for employment or struggling to keep employment. The initiatives include a new online tool for job seekers across New Zealand and the launch of 35 new employment centres, along with other employment service programmes, all of which are aimed at helping Kiwis connect with employers.
While at Level Four, the Ministry of Social Development continued to place people into employment over the phone, including redeploying people into essential services. This announcement will mean we can effectively engage with more New Zealanders looking for employment or training - through MSD employment centres around the country, or online here.
#LIVE Jacinda Ardern speaks at this week's post-Cabinet press conferencePosted by Jacinda Ardern on Monday, April 27, 2020
Wednesday's update saw the Prime Minister join Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
The Prime Minister announced that the Government is working on measures under which parties to a commercial lease would be expected to consider rent concessions, in whole or in part, for a period where the response to COVID-19 has had a material impact on business.
We are working actively to support small- and medium-sized businesses with a number of other measures, including the Wage Subsidy scheme which is currently supporting over 1.6 million New Zealanders - and there’s more on this below!
The Prime Minister also highlighted a couple of examples of Kiwi ingenuity in our hospitality sector during Alert Level Three, including websites for local businesses and original ways of serving takeaway coffee.
#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 responsePosted by Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday, April 28, 2020
On Thursday, the Prime Minister gave further detail about the enforcement of Alert Level 3 rules.
"If you see breaches, do report them. The last thing we can afford is to see a spike in cases due to taking our foot off the pedal. Now is not the time to loosen up our compliance."
She also provided the latest numbers of school attendance during Alert Level 3. Around 2% of Y1-10 students attended school on Wednesday, and around 4% of ECE students. This is a great indicator of the caution New Zealanders are taking at Level Three, and that those who are able to stay home are doing so.
Finally, legislation was passed by Parliament to help cushion small- to medium-sized businesses from the impact of COVID-19. Watch below for further information.
The Finance Minister held the press update this Friday, and he used the opportunity to speak about the Government's announcement of small business interest-free loans. These loans will boost cash-flow support for small businesses impacted by the economic shock of COVID-19.
Friday was also the first day of the Winter Energy Payment - doubled this year - which will help over one million New Zealanders stay warm and healthy at home. We doubled the Winter Energy Payment to help keep people well while they spend more time at home during the COVID-19 response.
#LIVE Update on COVID-19 Government responsePosted by Grant Robertson on Thursday, April 30, 2020
As we continue at Alert Level Three, we must continue to follow the rules and play our part to stop the spread of the virus, while rebooting economic activity. We're heading in the right direction.
Look out for the next edition in this series on Friday.
COVID-19: If you are concerned about the coronavirus or feeling unwell, phone your doctor in the first instance. You can also call Healthline’s free dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS), for health advice. Find out more at covid19.govt.nz
As at Friday 1pm, New Zealand reported 1,479 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, with 1,252 people now classified as recovered. 85% of all our confirmed and probable cases are now considered to be recovered. We have 6 people in hospital, with none in intensive care. We have currently have 19 recorded deaths from COVID-19 in New Zealand.
The total number of tests done to date is 139,898.
We're committed to keeping New Zealanders safe and well-informed every step of the way. We'll continue to share updates and developments of the Government's response to COVID-19.
Visit covid19.govt.nz for the latest information on COVID-19, including the alert levels, health, travel, education, business, and community issues.