Queues to the Quay St supermarket following the announcement. Credit: Damian W via twitter.
Today, Auckland returns to Covid Alert Level 3 and the rest of Aotearoa returns to Level 2. The official Covid site currently says:
Here are the basics about moving around. Notably, masks are highly recommended (but not required):
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:
While we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario, we have also planned and prepared for it. We have a resurgence plan that we are now activating. That plan is based on everything we, as a country, have learned to date about Covid 19. It’s also based on what we’ve seen on resurgence overseas.
We do not know how long the restrictions might remain in place, but one thing research has shown is how effective our first lockdown was:
The team also found no evidence the virus had been circulating before New Zealand’s first case was reported on February 26 – and also that fewer cases were missed later in the country’s epidemic than in early stages.
“It was surprisingly that, despite its remoteness, the viruses imported into New Zealand represented nearly all of the genomic diversity sequenced from the global virus population, and this high degree of genomic diversity was observed throughout the country,” Geoghehan said.
“This highlights the vast number of introductions and how globally connected we are.”
Geoghegan said genomics gave scientists the power to easily quantify the effectiveness of lockdown measures and border closures.
For instance, they found the effective reproductive number of New Zealand’s biggest cluster was squashed from seven to just 0.2 in the first week of lockdown.
This does give hope that we are likely to halt the spread quickly, and are unlikely to be at high alert levels for long, assuming we still behave responsibly. We also know there’s a high likelihood that even if this is for just a brief period, we could enter into an alert level again at any stage.
It will be interesting to see:
- how well-located the border between Auckland and Northland, and between Auckland and Waikato is for locals needing to stay on one side or the other.
- how the plan for public transport is developed, now we know how effective wearing masks is, and
- whether the government will include emergency measures for walking and cycling safety in their public health planning this time.