Current Covid-19 alert level

New Zealand’s four-level COVID-19 alert system specifies public health and social measures to be taken against COVID-19. We are at Level 3.

Staying at home – what it means

What you must do

We are currently at Level 3, but are preparing to move to Level 4.

What that means for you is that New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of those in your households.

We know that this is a big ask. Eradicating the disease is vital to protect people’s health and ensure our health system can cope and look after New Zealanders who become sick.

You may go for a walk or exercise and enjoy nature, but keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times. You can take your children outside.

Food will always be available – production will continue, distribution will continue, supermarkets will continue. You will always have access to food.

Medicines will always be available.

Healthcare for those that need it will be available.

Your usual financial support, like benefits, will continue as normal.

Remember whatever you do must be solitary. We are asking that you only spend time with those who you are in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.

We need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19. Enforcement measures may be used to ensure everyone acts together, now.

Where can I get financial support?

The Government is acting to support New Zealanders through these changes with an updated package that has been expanded now we have escalated our response. This includes:

  • a wage subsidy scheme
  • leave and self-isolation support
  • business cash flow and tax measures.

Your usual financial support, such as benefits, will continue.

Find out more about COVID-19 support on the Work and Income website.(external link)

Essential businesses

Essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand.

This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.

What are essential businesses?

This list may evolve over time.

Sectors Entities providing essential services (including their supply chains)
Accommodation
  • Accommodation services for essential workers and people who need to be isolated/quarantined
 Border
  • Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries
Building and construction
  • Building and construction related to essential services, critical infrastructure, or immediately needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work
Courts, tribunals and the justice system
  • Courts of New Zealand and tribunals
  • Critical Crown entities (eg Electoral Commission)
Education At level 3 only:

  • Schools and educational facilities (e.g. ECE centres)
Fast-moving consumer goods
  • Businesses involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods (but not takeaway shops)
Financial services
  • Banks, insurers and other financial institutions
Health
  • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities
  • Ambulance services
  • Mortuary services
Local and national government
  • Any entity involved in COVID-19 response or that has civil defence/emergency management functions
  • Key public services
Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing
  • Packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products
  • Food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
  • Veterinary and animal health/welfare services
Public safety and national security
  • Emergency services
  • Security and intelligence services
  • Justice system
  • Public safety and national security roles
Science
  • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in COVID-19 response, hazard monitoring, resilience, diagnostics for essential services
Social services
  • Welfare and social services, including NGOs, which meet immediate needs (further guidance will be provided)
Transport and logistics
  • Transport services
  • New Zealand Post and courier services
  • Any small passenger service vehicle driver – including taxis and ride-share services
Utilities and communications, including supply chains
  • Electricity, gas, water, waste, fuel, telecommunication services, internet providers and media

These businesses will continue working, but will put in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe, including shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.

We are setting up a call centre and free 0800 number to help answer questions about this.  Our website will be updated as soon as this is set up.

More specific information for each sector will be published shortly.

Non-essential businesses

Non-essential businesses must now close. All bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, playgrounds and any other place where the public congregate must close their face to face function.

Over the next 48 hours as we move to Level 4, takeaway services must move to close their operations.

Physical distancing means staff and the public stay 2 metres apart, hand hygiene and cleaning must be maintained. Keeping full details of guests, and keeping people away if they are sick is required.

Essential businesses and those that support them will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand. This means food, healthcare, energy, internet, waste collection and financial support will always be available. They must have health measures and contact tracing in place.

We need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19.

Enforcement measures may be used to ensure everyone acts together, now.

Where can I get financial support?

The Government is acting to support New Zealanders through these changes with an updated package that has been expanded now we have escalated our response. This includes:

a wage subsidy scheme

leave and self-isolation support

business cash flow and tax measures.

Your usual financial support, such as benefits, will continue.

Find out more about COVID-19 support on the Work and Income website.(external link)

Why?

These measures are about stopping the spread of the disease to keep New Zealanders safe, while also providing vital services.

Gatherings are cancelled

All indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed.

This does not include workplaces of people undertaking essential businesses.

These requirements apply to family and social gatherings such as birthdays, funerals, tangi or weddings. These gatherings can not go ahead.

We are asking you only spend time with those who you are in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.

Education

All schools and early childhood education (ECE) centres will be closed.

Schools will be providing information directly to all parents about what this means for them.

The children of essential workers – like doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police – are still able to go to school or early childhood centres for the next 48 hours. For these families, schools will then be closed from the end of Wednesday.

The upcoming school term break will be brought forward to start on Monday, 30 March. For the remainder of this week and through the term break, schools will establish ways to deliver teaching online and remotely.

Educational providers that remain open over the next 48 hours will put in place appropriate public health measures – including physical distancing of 2 metres and contact tracing.

As always, anyone who is unwell should not be at school.

How to access Healthcare

If you need to see a Doctor or other medical professional you MUST phone first.

Most consultations will happen over the phone (or by videoconference) to stop any risk of the disease spreading by person to person contact.

If a face to face meeting is required, your doctor or other medical professional will organise this with you.

When should I seek medical advice?

If you are concerned about any COVID-19 symptoms you are experiencing, please contact Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor.

Find out more about COVID-19 symptoms(external link).

Can I leave my house to seek medical attention during an alert Level 3 or 4?

If you require any medical assistance, you must phone your doctor or the hospital first. Health and medical facilities are recognised as an essential service and will remain open, even in a Level 4 lockdown.

If you are in need of urgent assistance, contact emergency services (dial 111).

I can’t get through to Healthline/my local doctor

Many New Zealanders are reaching out for help and advice but it’s important phone lines for Healthline and GPs to be kept free so those who need medical advice can ring through.

Everything will be done to get people the support they need as quickly as possible.

Please try to only call Healthline or your GP when you need medical assistance. If your call is not directly related to medical assistance, you may be able to find answers to your questions on the covid19.govt.nz

If you are in need of urgent assistance, contact emergency services (dial 111).

What do I do if I need a repeat prescription for my regular medication?

Your Doctor will have in place ways to get a prescription without seeing your Doctor face to face. Please ring your Doctor for further information.

Pharmacies are recognised as an essential service and will remain open, even in Level 4.
If you need to go to your local pharmacy, phone them first to ensure you are able to go in-store.

If you are an at-risk group [Link to at-risk groups] you may need to ask someone to pick up your medicines on your behalf.

What should I do if I am at risk, immune-compromised or have someone at risk in my household?

You are at high-risk if you are over 70, pregnant, or have underlying health conditions.

People with underlying medical conditions include a compromised immune system, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes mellitus, respiratory issues or on immunosuppressant medications.

You might live with an at-risk person and want information on how to protect their health. Visit the Ministry of Health website(external link).

Public transport and travel

Travel in New Zealand will change. We are asking everyone to limit their movement around the country to help us contain COVID-19.

Public transport will only be available for those working in essential services, for medical reasons, and to get to the supermarket.

Ferry services, road and rail will still be available for the transport of essential goods.

Driving in private vehicles is allowed.

Private Vehicles and active travel

Using private vehicles for transport is allowed. Where possible, practice physical distancing.

Personal walks and other active travel is fine, provided you follow the two metre physical distancing requirement at all times.

International air travel

Visitors and tourists can still use international air services to travel home.

Do not go to the airport unless you have a ticket. If you do not have ticket contact a travel agent or airline directly. If you are unable to secure a ticket please contact your country embassy.

Domestic air travel

Over the next 48 hours, people will need to get home, be it locally or throughout the country. We have asked all air transport providers to ensure social distancing for that period. After 48 hours, we will be moving to air travel only applying to the transport of people undertaking essential services and the transport of freight.

Visitors and tourists can use domestic air travel to proceed to an international airport.

If you are feeling unwell, particularly with a cough, shortness of breath or fever, or if you’re sneezing or have a runny nose, don’t travel.

If you are on a flight, it is particularly important that you cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Where possible carry hand sanitizer and tissues. If it’s possible, sit in a window seat in a row by yourself.

Transport for those unwell

If you have any COVID-19 related concerns please call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice before you travel.

To help limit the spread of any virus, those who are unwell should stay at home. If you’re unwell and must travel, private transport is required. If that’s not possible, call Healthline for guidance first (0800 358 5453).

At risk people

People over 70 years of age, people who have compromised immunity or people who have underlying respiratory conditions should stay at home as much as they can.

At risk people include:

Those over 70: Older people often have underlying health issues, including respiratory issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions can make you more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, people with respiratory conditions, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.

People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions: As treatments for cancer and blood conditions affect people’s immune systems, this makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Pregnant women: Health experts do not yet know if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk from some infections.

People without easy access to healthcare

Download a poster asking people not enter your building(external link)

Find out more about COVID-19

For some of new Zealand’s communities, other aspects of their lives may mean they are also at risk. This includes:

Residents of aged care facilities: Aged care facilities are susceptible to rapid transmission of viruses like this. Residents are more susceptible to illnesses due to their age and they are also more likely to have underlying health conditions.

New Zealand COVID-19 alert levels

The alert system means people can see and plan for the kinds of restrictions we may be required to put in place. This includes escalating restrictions on human contact, travel and business operations.

Download a table of the COVID-19 alert levels [PDF, 50 KB](external link)

These alert levels specify the public health and social measures to be taken.

The measures may be updated on the basis of (i) new scientific knowledge about COVID-19 and (ii) information about the effectiveness of intervention measures in New Zealand and elsewhere.

The alert levels may be applied at a town, city, territorial local authority, regional or national level.

Different parts of the country may be at different alert levels. We can move up and down alert levels.

In general, the alert levels are cumulative, e.g. Level 1 is a base-level response. Always prepare for the next level.

At all levels, health services, emergency services, utilities and goods transport, and other essential services, operations and staff, are expected to remain up and running. Employers in those sectors must continue to meet their health and safety obligations.

Level 4 Eliminate

Likely that disease is not contained.

Risk assessment

Sustained and intensive transmission

Widespread outbreaks

Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)

People instructed to stay at home

Educational facilities closed

Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities

Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities

Travel severely limited

Major reprioritisation of healthcare services

Level 3 Restrict

Heightened risk that disease is not contained.

Risk assessment

Community transmission occurring OR

Multiple clusters break out

Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)

Travel in areas with clusters or community transmission limited

Affected educational facilities closed

Mass gatherings cancelled

Public venues closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, amusement parks)

Alternative ways of working required and some non-essential businesses should close

Non face-to-face primary care consultations

Non acute (elective) services and procedures in hospitals deferred and healthcare staff reprioritised

Level 2 Reduce

Disease is contained, but risks of community transmission growing.

Risk assessment

High risk of importing COVID-19 OR

Increase in imported cases OR

Increase in household transmission OR

Single or isolated cluster outbreak

Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)

Entry border measures maximised

Further restrictions on mass gatherings

Physical distancing on public transport (e.g. leave the seat next to you empty if you can)

Limit non-essential travel around New Zealand

Employers start alternative ways of working if possible (e.g. remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing within the workplace, staggering meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements)

Business continuity plans activated

High-risk people advised to remain at home (e.g. those over 70 or those with other existing medical conditions)

Level 1 Prepare

Disease is contained.

Risk assessment

Heightened risk of importing COVID-19 OR

Sporadic imported cases OR

Isolated household transmission associated with imported cases

Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)

Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing COVID-19 cases applied

Contact tracing

Stringent self-isolation and quarantine

Intensive testing for COVID-19

Physical distancing encouraged

Mass gatherings over 500 cancelled

Stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms

Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, don’t touch your face

RN_admin
Author: RN_admin

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