Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: New Zealand to lower COVID-19 alert to Level 3 from 2359 April 27. Some businesses to resume. Entry ban, quarantine measures in effect.
This alert affects New Zealand
This alert began 27 Apr 2020 06:07 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Entry restrictions, quarantine requirements, business and transport disruptions
New Zealand will lower its alert for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to Level 3, the second-highest level, at 2359 April 27, amid reduced COVID-19 activity in the country. The alert level - and associated restrictions - will remain in place through at least May 11; leaders will review the level every two weeks. An ongoing state of emergency, which allows the government to ban gatherings, take over facilities, requisition equipment, and supplies, and close roads, among other measures, remains in effect through April 29. The declaration requires renewal every seven days, and additional extensions are possible.
Officials have stressed that a significant reduction in restrictions will not occur under Level 3. Authorities continue to encourage people to stay at home as much as possible, and police will continue to enforce social distancing measures. All events, regardless of size, remain banned. Officials are allowing people to expand their immediate social circle marginally and have reopened parks and beaches for exercise. However, authorities have encouraged people to only travel to such sites that are closest to their homes. Officials will also allow for one-way trips within New Zealand for residents trapped away from home during Level 4 restrictions.
Under Level 3, the government will allow some businesses to resume, especially in the manufacturing, construction, and forestry industries. However, some retail stores and restaurants that provide contactless delivery or pick up services may reopen. Supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, utilities, and banks all remain open. All businesses must adhere to social distancing measures before employees can return to work. The government has advised all other workers to stay at home unless deemed essential. The government plans to reopen schools for students up to Year 10 from April 29, but officials have asked parents to keep children at home if they can access classes online.
Public transport will mostly resume, but riders need to abide by social distancing recommendations and avoid peak-hour travel. Some local governments are requiring or suggesting passengers wear masks on public transport. Police are also monitoring road traffic and have reportedly erected roadblocks to prevent nonessential travel. Authorities could punish people in violation of travel restrictions as much as NZD 4,000 (USD 2,200) or up to six months in jail.
New Zealand continues to ban all foreign nationals from entering the country. The measure includes citizens of Pacific nations, who were previously excluded from travel restrictions; however, exceptions will continue for citizens from the region and other foreign nationals for humanitarian reasons. Resident Australian citizens, permanent residents, and resident visa holders with valid travel conditions, as well as their immediate family members, are exempt from entry restrictions. Staff are conducting health screenings of all incoming passengers. Officials continue to require inbound passengers to remain at government-designated facilities for 14 days.
Postpone travel to New Zealand if affected by restrictions. Confirm flight status if allowed entry into the country. Follow all official instructions and allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Plan to undergo quarantine if entering the country. Limit domestic trips to government-approved travel; be prepared to explain reasons for travel to authorities.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.