Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced on Monday, May 11, that the Level 3 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown measures, which have been in place since Tuesday, April 28, will be reduced to Level 2 starting 23:59 (local time) on Wednesday, May 13.
The Level 2 measures will allow retail, domestic travel, and local sports to resume. Malls, cafes, hairdressers, restaurants, cinemas and other public spaces, including playgrounds and gyms, will be permitted to reopen from Thursday, May 14. Schools will re-start from Monday, May 18, while bars may resume operations from Thursday, May 21. All group gatherings for both indoor and outdoor activities, such as parties at home, church meetings, weddings, funerals, group bookings and restaurants and bars, will be restricted to just ten people. Businesses will be allowed to re-start for staff and customers, though they must observe the appropriate hygiene and social distancing rules. Hairdressers and beauticians must wear PPE, and establishments that violate Level 2 rules will be closed. Professional sport and lower level sport will also be allowed to resume, though crowds and spectators will not be allowed. Additionally, companies are encouraged to continue allowing staff to work from home where possible. A full list of Level 2 measures can be found here.
The country's borders will remain closed, except for returning New Zealand nationals who will be required to spend 14-days in an isolation facility on their arrival.
The Health Ministry confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, May 11, bringing the country's total confirmed number of cases to 1497 with 21 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the disease is to be expected in the near term.
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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