TODAY |

Coronavirus: New Zealand's alert levels explained

New Zealand has established a four-stage alert system to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in New Zealand.

On March  21, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said we were at level two.

On March 23, she lifted that to level three, and on March 25 at 11.59pm it raises to level four. 

Level 1: Prepare

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The Prime Minister addressed the nation live from the capital today. Source: 1 NEWS

Disease is contained.

Risk assessment
Heightened risk of importing Covid-19 OR
Sporadic imported cases OR
Isolated household transmission associated with imported cases
Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)
Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing Covid-19 cases applied
Contact tracing
Stringent self-isolation and quarantine
Intensive testing for Covid-19
Physical distancing encouraged
Mass gatherings over 500 cancelled
Stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms
Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, don’t touch your face

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Jacinda Ardern was trying to ease the concerns of nervous New Zealanders. Source: 1 NEWS

Level 2: Reduce
Disease is contained, but risks of community transmission growing.

Risk assessment
High risk of importing Covid-19 OR
Increase in imported cases OR
Increase in household transmission OR
Single or isolated cluster outbreak
Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)
Entry border measures maximised
Further restrictions on mass gatherings
Physical distancing on public transport (e.g. leave the seat next to you empty if you can)
Limit non-essential travel around New Zealand
Employers start alternative ways of working if possible (e.g. remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing within the workplace, staggering meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements)
Business continuity plans activated
High-risk people advised to remain at home (e.g. those over 70 or those with other existing medical

Level 3: Restrict
Heightened risk that disease is not contained.

Risk assessment
Community transmission occurring OR
Multiple clusters break out
Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)
Travel in areas with clusters or community transmission limited
Affected educational facilities closed
Mass gatherings cancelled
Public venues closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, amusement parks)
Alternative ways of working required and some non-essential businesses should close
Non face-to-face primary care consultations
Non acute (elective) services and procedures in hospitals deferred and healthcare staff reprioritised.

Level 4: Eliminate
Likely that disease is not contained.

Risk assessment
Sustained and intensive transmission
Widespread outbreaks
Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)
People instructed to stay at home
Educational facilities closed
Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities
Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
Travel severely limited
Major reprioritisation of healthcare services

Full details on the Government site at covid19.govt.nz