New Zealand's government announced on Monday, April 27, that Level 4 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown measures, which had been in place since March 25, would be reduced to Level 3 starting at midnight (local time) on Tuesday, April 28. The Level 3 lockdown will be held for two weeks, with a cabinet review to be undertaken on Monday, May 11.
The Level 3 measures allow for the partial reopening of schools, limited expansion of "personal bubbles," reopening of businesses, and permission for gatherings of up to ten people in certain circumstances. Social-distancing precautions and a strict restriction on travel will remain in place. A full list of Level 3 measures can be found here.
As of April 27, health authorities have confirmed 1469 cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, along with 19 associated deaths. Further spread of COVID-19 is to be expected in New Zealand over the coming weeks; a renewed increase to Level 4 lockdown measures is possible should the number of cases recorded in New Zealand sharply increase.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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