Auckland to move down to Alert Level 1

By Jessica Tyson

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced Auckland will move to Alert Level 1 on Wednesday.

She says the Cabinet met earlier today to make the decision and, "because of the success of the elimination strategy and on the advice of the Health director-general, the Cabinet has confirmed  Auckland will join the rest if New Zealand at alert level 1 from 11.59pm.”

It comes after the total number of cases attached to the Auckland community cluster have decreased from 179 to six.

Today there are only 40 active cases in the country including 34 imported and the other six community cases. 

Restrictions lifted in level 1

At level one, restrictions on gatherings and domestic travel will be lifted but tight border controls will remain.

People are being asked to maintain good hygiene and record where they have been by using the Covid tracing app or by taking their own records.

"Keep up good handwashing practices, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and drying thoroughly. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Keep surfaces clean," the Ministry of Health says.

Ardern says daily use of the Covid-19 tracing app has halved from two million scans to one million in the past week, so she advises people to keep using it. She also advises people to get tested if they have symptoms.

“I don’t want anyone to think that, because we’re at level one, that now means that Covid-19  is absolutely absent from New Zealand. It means there’s no sign of it currently but we need to keep it up, that vigilance around testing.”

Face coverings

People don’t have to wear face-coverings in level one but the ministry still encourages people to wear them on public transport.

“We encourage you to use face coverings on public transport and, when you cannot maintain physical distance from people you do not know, for example in supermarkets. Be prepared by having a supply of face coverings for everyone who usually lives in your household. Add some to your household emergency kit.”

Ardern says, “As we come together again as a country in level one we can let ourselves once again feel pride that we managed to get to that position together. Covid will be with us for many months to come but we should still mark these milestones.”