Auckland drops to level 2, rest of NZ to level 1
Auckland has moved down to alert level 2 this morning after six consecutive days of no new community case of Covid-19. The rest of New Zealand is back at level 1.
After a cabinet meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the plan to lower the alert levels after there were no new Covid-19 cases in the community for five days in a row.
Health officials are urging householders to remain vigilant in the run-up to Friday, when the government is expected to consider whether Auckland should move to level 1.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reminded churches and religious groups in Auckland to cap today's congregations at 100 people.
Auckland schools are also keeping an eye on the size of their gatherings as children return to classrooms on Monday.
Major hospitals outside Auckland will lift or relax visitor restrictions today.
Patients are allowed only one visitor at a time under level 2.
Auckland was moved to an alert level 3 lockdown on February 28 and the rest of the country to alert level 2 for a period of seven days, after two new Covid-19 community cases were announced last Saturday night.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff yesterday says community cooperation has helped to stop the spread of the virus and he will continue to lobby the government to prioritise Auckland over other areas less impacted by the virus, when the vaccine is rolled out to the public.
Despite the lower alert levels public health officials are warning New Zealanders, and particularly Aucklanders, to remain vigilant.
That means Aucklanders behaving as if they are in alert level 2 and following alert level 2 rules even if they travel outside their region, Professor Shaun Hendy, from Auckland University research centre Te Pūnaha Matatini said.
At alert level 2 social gatherings are restricted to 100 people, physical distancing of 2 metres is required in public and supermarkets and shops and 1 metre in most workplaces, cafes, gyms and restaurants. Face coverings are required on public transport and domestic flights and encouraged in places where physical distancing is not possible.
At alert level 1 people need to stay at home if they are unwell, get a test if they have Covid-19 symptoms, wear face coverings on public transport and to keep track of where they have been by using the Covid Tracer app or keeping a written dairy.