Lockdown lifts - New Zealand to move to level 3 from Monday

New Zealand will move to level 3 of lockdown from Monday 11.59pm next Monday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern just made the announcement.

Ardern started her 4pm press conference by thinking of those who've lost a loved one, or almost lost a loved one, to Covid-19.

"We cannot forget that every number is someone's father, mother, relative or friend," she said.

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.

Today there were nine new cases of Covid-19. There were also nine on Sunday.

Fourteen people are in hospital, including two in a critical condition, while 974 people have completely recovered from the deadly virus.

The death toll stands at 12.

Cabinet, a body of senior ministers, will make the decision based on four factors:

1) It's reasonably certain there's no community transmission

Targeted community testing has ramped up over the weekend with 400 people tested at supermarkets in Auckland's Mangere and Henderson and all tests were confirmed negative today.

And tests of almost 650 people in Queenstown and sites in the Waikato last week were all negative.

Cabinet will base a lot of weight on Bloomfield's opinion as to whether he's confident about community transmission being under control.

2) That we have sufficient and rapid contact tracing

Bloomfield said yesterday New Zealand was within a week of achieving the "gold standard" - where 80 per cent of all close contacts could be traced within three days.

He said gold standard contact-tracing system was essential "to safely go down to level 3 and lower".

3) That our self-isolation, quarantine and border measures are robust.

4) That there's good capacity in the health system

 

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