Likelihood of lockdown lasting longer than four weeks 'in our hands' - Health Minister

Whether the nationwide lockdown ends in four weeks or continues longer is in the country's hands, the Health Minister said this morning. 

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David Clark told TVNZ1’s Q+A it was about New Zealanders following the rules that impact the time period in Alert Level 4. Source: Q+A

On day four of New Zealand's Covid-19 coronavirus response sitting at alert level four, David Clark told TVNZ'1 Q+A with Jack Tame whether the alert level would be lowered after 28 days, or not, was dependent on New Zealand "bending" the curve. 

Dr Clark said if New Zealand could bend or flatten the curve of new cases of Covid-19 through social distancing, the lockdown could be lifted. 

"It's whether we're seeing the behaviours we know will change the nature of the outbreak...  and whether we can track the cases."

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

"Modelling scenarios do indicate with these kinds of behaviours (social distancing during lockdown), we should start to see that curve bend after 10 days."

When asked how much the curve needed to bend to lower the alert level, Mr Clark said it needed to bend a "significant" amount from New Zealand's current position. 

"We are seeing case numbers increase… and that’s the reason why we’re in this situation, because we need to change this trajectory," Dr Clark said. 

Yesterday, both confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 rose to 451, up on 368 from Friday. 

Two people are in intensive care. 

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Coronavirus: New Zealand's alert levels explained

When asked about the likelihood of the lockdown lasting longer than four weeks, the minimum amount of time New Zealand is set to stay at alert level four, Dr Clark said "it's in our hands". 

He said if people break the rules of social distancing then "we will need to stay in lockdown longer". 

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He appeared on TVNZ1’s Q+A with Jack Tame on March 29, 2020 to discuss the Covid-19 response. Source: Q+A