Thank you to each and every New Zealander who has been doing their part to eliminate COVID-19 and protect our country. We commit to keeping you informed every step of the way. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to this week, as we finished the third week of Alert Level 4, and started the fourth.
The Prime Minister began Easter Monday with her regular press conference, where she thanked the people of New Zealand for staying home over Easter and continued to stress the importance of remaining in lockdown to eliminate the virus.
"While we all want to lift the restrictions as soon as we are in the position to do so, that decision will not be taken until the 20th of April. We need to use the most up- to- date live data that we have, and we will."
#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 responsePosted by Jacinda Ardern on Sunday, April 12, 2020
Later in the day, the Prime Minister provided a further update via Facebook Live, to let New Zealanders know what to expect in the week ahead.
On Day 20 of our COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, the Prime Minister was joined at her post-Cabinet press conference by Finance Minister Grant Robertson. The Prime Minister announced an immediate tertiary education support package, to help students continue in their studies. Shortly after, the Finance Minister provided further information on Treasury's economic scenarios, released earlier that day.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to urge against some commentary advocating to move out of lockdown early, instead re-emphasising the importance of relying on the scientific data and exercising caution. To move too early would squander the good work of New Zealanders over the past 20 days and put New Zealand on a backwards trajectory.
"We are successfully over the peak. That is not the same thing as out of the woods."
#LIVE Jacinda Ardern speaks at this week's post-Cabinet press conferencePosted by Jacinda Ardern on Monday, April 13, 2020
On Wednesday, the Finance Minister announced extra measures to provide relief for businesses over the coming months, as we recover from the global economic impacts of COVID-19. These extra measures took the shape of a tax relief package for small and medium-sized businesses, including a $3.1 billion tax loss carry-back scheme to improve cashflow, and measures to support commercial tenants and landlords.
Also on Wednesday, the Prime Minister announced that Government ministers, public service Chief Executives, and the Prime Minister herself, will take a pay cut of 20 per cent for the next six months.
“While this cut in itself won’t shift the Government’s overall fiscal position it is an acknowledgement that every person and organisation has a part to play as we unite to stamp out Covid-19 and save lives."
#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 responsePosted by Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday, April 14, 2020
The Prime Minister shared further detail about the Government's alert levels at Thursday's press conference, with a specific focus on Alert Level Three. This update in no way foreshadows the decision on our current lockdown that will be made on Monday 20th April. Instead, it is about giving New Zealanders information so they may be ready when the time to move down to Level Three does arrive.
Some of the key differences at Alert Level Three are:
- You can expand your bubble a little. Keep it exclusive though, and keep it small. E.g. a caregiver who you need in your life, children who are in shared care, a partner who is caring for others, a single person who wants the company of a sibling
- You must work from home if you can. If you cannot, you may return to your place of work if it can comply with the health and safety expectations under COVID-19, in the same way that businesses operating at present have had to
- Food delivery, drive-through, online shopping, and options like click and collect shopping can begin. Bars, restaurants and cafes remain closed, as do malls and retail stores
- There will be a partial reopening of education providers. Early childhood centres and schools will be available up to and including Year 10, but attendance is purely voluntary
- Funerals and weddings will be able to go ahead, but limited to 10 people. They can only be services – no food, drinks or receptions can take place.
- Travel restrictions remain but expand a little. Previously we have talked about keeping it local, but at Level Three we will ask that you keep it regional
- As a general rule of thumb, the goal of keeping two metres away from each other still applies. If you are in a workplace, or an education facility for instance, places where we can contact trace the people around you, then one metre can be applied if that’s all that is possible.
Once again, it is important to remember that this new information does not mean New Zealand will be transitioning to Alert Level Three. Cabinet is still to decide whether that is the right course of action.
Right now, we need to hold on to our hard-won gains and not allow the virus to bounce back. A disciplined approach is crucial to success - the aim is to do it once and do it right.
#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 responsePosted by Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Friday's press conference was led by Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who was joined by Dr. Caroline McElnay.
Grant issued another reminder to New Zealanders that, despite the release of information about Alert Level 3 the preceding day, New Zealand remains at Alert Level 4. We must continue to follow the rules to stop the spread of the virus by staying home, breaking the chain, and saving lives.
#LIVE Update on COVID-19 responsePosted by Grant Robertson on Thursday, April 16, 2020
As we head into the fourth week of lockdown, please continue to stay home and stay safe. As the Finance Minister stated on Friday, this is a marathon, not a short sprint.
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 at 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 1,409 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, with 816 people now classified as recovered. We have 14 people in hospital and three in intensive care. We have currently have 11 recorded deaths from COVID-19 in New Zealand.
The total number of tests done to date is 74,401, with a rolling 7-day average testing total of 2,674.
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.
Head here for information on our Government's economic response – including wage subsidies, rent increase freezes and mortgage defferals.