New Zealand will move from COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday April 27, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
The country will stay in Alert Level 3 for two weeks before a further review and Alert Level decision on May 11.
“Going hard and early to stamp out the virus, backed by an effort of 5 million New Zealanders to break the chain of transmission, means together we have helped stop the uncontrolled explosion of COVID-19 in New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“On the recommendation of the Director General of Health, who is confident there is currently no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand, today we are able to take a balanced approach in transitioning through alert levels and restarting our economy.
“The sacrifices made to date have been huge. Cabinet wanted to make sure we lock in our gains, give ourselves some additional certainty, but take no more than two additional business days to do this before we restart our economy again.
“We want to see kiwis back in work as soon as possible and our economy rebound before others. At Level 3, 400,000 more New Zealanders will return to work, with key sectors for our recovery like construction, manufacturing and forestry starting up again. Having our economy operating with a low threat of the virus is the competitive advantage we can seize if we get this next phase right. And I believe we can.
“But at Level 3 we need to be even more vigilant and we must stick to the rules, continue to reduce contact and keep breaking the chain of transmission.
“And remember that we remain at Level 4 until you wake up next Tuesday. Let’s stick with our plan and the mission we have. Stay strong, stay home, let’s finish what we started.
“I couldn’t feel prouder of the start we have made together. But I also feel a huge responsibility to ensure we do not lose any of the gains we have made,” Jacinda Ardern said.
- Under Alert Level 3, children who can stay at home should stay at home. At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so. Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them. People will be allowed to enter schools and early learning centres from tomorrow for cleaning, maintenance and any other preparations to be ready to re-open for a Teacher Only Day on 28 April. We expect most children who need to attend to be able to from 29 April. It may take a bit longer for some schools and early learning centres to be ready.
- This week businesses will be allowed to get ready to open, such as employers re-entering premises to receive stock if necessary, but they must stick to physical distancing and their bubbles.