In Nelson there are still only 27 cases of Covid-19. Photo: File

No new Covid-19 cases in Nelson for a week and plans for life in level-3 lockdown

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Nelson is now marking a week without any new or probable cases of Covid-19.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed there are just 15 new cases of the virus confirmed nationwide today. In Nelson there are only 27 cases and in Marlborough there are 21.

All cases are travel-related and there is no evidence of a community outbreak in the region. All cases are in isolation at home or in their place of usual residence. There are no cases in hospital.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokesperson says there have been no new or probable cases in Nelson or Marlborough.

Forty two people visited a Community Based Assessment Centre in Nelson yesterday and 39 swaps were taken.

Today, the total number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the Nelson Marlborough region is 30.

Restrictions under level 3

Ardern also revealed that when New Zealand moves to alert level 3, there would be a partial opening of schools for students up to Year 10 only and attendance isn’t mandatory.

Students who can remain home and do distance learning are encouraged to do so.

Children at school would be kept in the same groups each day and it would be down to each school to work out how to do that, Ardern said.

Public play equipment would remain closed.

Public-facing bars and cafes, malls and retail stores have too much contact with the public so they will remain closed.

But food deliveries and e-commerce could re-open, she said. Drive-through services at restaurants are also allowed.

The hospitality won’t be able to have face-to-face interactions so restaurants would need to rely on deliveries and retailers have to utilise click and collect.

There could be takeaway coffees, as long as it could be done through an app or online.

Travel restrictions will remain under alert level 3.

But the advice has changed from “keep it local” to “keep it regional” and travel should be restricted as much as possible.

Ardern said the different Covid-19 levels allow different levels of contact between people.

Level 3 is about “restrict” as there was a risk the virus could “bounce back”, she said.

Swimming and fishing allowed, boating banned

Boating and jetskis are still banned because they can be prone to breakdown.

But you can swim, surf and fish from the shore.

Don’t start a new activity that you haven’t done before, the PM said.

If there are signs of congregation, this rule will be reconsidered so Kiwis shouldn’t consider it a time to catch-up with all their swimming buddies, Ardern said.

Expanding your bubble

People should keep their bubble at level 3 but can expand it “a small amount”, she said.

Those who need carers, have shared custody, or want to see their family could do so.

“Keep it exclusive, keep it small,” she said.

For bubbles which included older people or with pre-existing conditions, those people should still be kept safe.

“People need to really use their judgment,” Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

If there was a child in that bubble, it would be advised to keep the child home from school if possible.

Even though the bubbles were being slightly expanded, Kiwis should try to keep them as limited as possible.

Going to work under alert level 3

If you are able to work from home, you must, Ardern said.

But if that is impossible to do so, for example if you work as a plumber, you can do so but you have to maintain social distancing.

MBIE advised the Government the numbers of people who could work under level 3 doubled from level 4, Ardern said.

Rules for weddings, funerals and tangi

Funerals and tangi can go ahead but only 10 people can attend.

Weddings are also restricted to 10 people and only services can take place – there can’t be any meals or receptions.

One metre is the new distance you should keep to but you have to be able to contact-trace.

Keep a note of where you’ve been, when and who you saw, she said.

Why NZ still has restrictions

Ardern said there were still restrictions because the end goal was elimination. “When we get there, we want to stay there.”

New Zealand will need a team of five million to achieve the goal of elimination, she said.

On the triggers for moving between levels, the primary factors are exponential growth, indicators of widespread transmissions and regional data, Ardern said.

Ardern has recently spoken to the leaders of Denmark and Singapore to discuss what they were doing as they came out of lockdown but said NZ’s strategy was unique to us.

On the voluntary return to schools, Ardern said that was because other parents would be returning to the workforce instead of just essential workers.

The reason for allowing up to and including Year 10 covered children under 14 who legally couldn’t stay home alone so parents returning to work could have childcare.

Lockdown was easier to enforce as it was “black and white” and so at alert level 3, that would be harder to police.

Ardern said she was relying on New Zealanders to be responsible.

Businesses wanting to trade are expected to put hygiene and social distancing measures in place and more details about MBIE’s accreditation scheme would be released next week.

Will some regions come out of lockdown early?

On whether some regions would come out of level 4 before others, Ardern said they would factor in whether that was workable as there were concerns about that.

Kiwis shouldn’t push “to the maximum” of how far they could go and should stay within their regions.

About the West Coast and whether it could be lifted out soon, Ardern said no decision had been made about any part of the country coming out of lockdown.

Ardern once again referred to level 3 as a waiting room and said this was because “we have to wait and see if what we’ve done has worked”.

Ardern told reporters that the indications of the actions taken against Covid-19 were “promising”.

“We should not confuse the success of our actions with overreaction,” the PM said.

The actions were about protecting people’s livelihoods as well as fighting the virus, she said.

Ardern said revealing the alert level rules “in no way” foreshadows whether the lockdown will be lifted next week, Ardern said.

She said the last thing the Government wanted was to “give away” the gains New Zealand had made under the lockdown.

With NZ Herald