Eighteen requests for exemptions to lockdown rules have been granted, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed.
It follows a after his request to be exempt from alert level 4 restrictions was denied.
Responding to the case, Ardern said New Zealand needed to make sure “we learn” from the rulings. It appeared the response to his application was an automatic response, so it was her expectation the Ministry of Health would take the ruling into consideration.
Two hundred and eighty-three requests for exemptions to the lockdown were sought – 24 on the grounds of a relative dying and 18 were granted, she said.
Meanwhile, Ardern said New Zealand reporting no new Covid-19 cases today reflected the success of the lockdown rather than actions during level three.
People were jeopardising our move to level 2 through their behaviour at the weekend, Ardern said.
She said New Zealand mustn‘t squander our hard work, Ardern said, so we could how down to alert level 2 and have more freedoms.
“Stay the course,” she said.
“We need to not get ahead of ourselves, stick to our bubble and finish the job we started.”
Trips to public spaces have seen an uptick during the first weekend at alert level 3, which is something we needed to watch, Ardern said.
But ultimately it was better than other countries when their strict lockdowns were lifted.
“Your efforts have put us at the front of the pack.”
New Zealand will learn on Thursday what level 2 will look like when the Government releases the rules but it won‘t decide until Monday to move the country down a level.
Don‘t expect a transtasman bubble soon
One of the aspects to get New Zealand moving again was the transtasman bubble and Ardern accepted Scott Morrison‘s invitation to join their Cabinet meeting.
Such a meeting is without precedent, she said.
Both our countries strong work on fighting the virus put Australia and New Zealand in the “enviable” situation to be able to discuss it, she said.
Ardern said the transtasman bubble wouldn‘t be “in the very, very near short-term” but both she and Morrison had a similar idea of the timelines they wanted to work to.
It would have significant advantages for New Zealand, both for tourism and business opportunities.
Don‘t expect this to happen in a couple of weeks‘ time.”
Ardern said they wanted to ensure our gains were “locked in” before opening our border to Australians.
It‘s not an issue Cabinet has formally considered yet, Ardern said.
On including other Pacific nations, Ardern said they focusing on Australia but would look to include other Pacific nations if they could do so safely for those countries.
Ardern expects to discuss -tracing with Morrison, what technology solutions were available and what they‘ve done which has worked.
But we would never rely entirely on a -tracing app, Ardern said.
“There simply is no silver bullet here.”
There are no new cases of coronavirus in New Zealand today. It is the first time in almost six weeks that testing has not uncovered a single case across a 24 hour period.
Alert level 3 breaches
There have been 154 prosecutions so far in alert level 3.
On the zero cases, Ardern said she was a perfectionist so wanted to ensure that our actions had worked and wanted a few more days to be sure.
Asked whether she had sent a present to Boris Johnson on the arrival of his baby boy, Ardern said she hadn‘t sent a chance to send one yet.
But when Neve was born, Theresa May sent a Number 10 onesie so she had every intention of returning the gesture.
On gearing up services to deal with the job losses, Ardern said they had already put in place a new employment service but there would be more to come.
Two weeks at alert level 3 was the minimum amount of time for the Covid-19 incubation period, but it was able to provide data on infections.
Earlier today Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced that for the first time in close to six weeks testing has not uncovered a single case across a 24-hour period.
He said it was a “time for celebration” but also didn‘t mean New Zealanders could become complacent.
It wouldn‘t be until later in the week after the incubation period which will show if there were any new cases as a result of stepping down to alert level 3.
“We‘re nearly there – let‘s not slacken off now,” Bloomfield said.
There were no additional deaths to report and the death toll remains at 20. The total number of cases is 1487. One probable case had since been upgraded to confirmed but that does not change the total number of cases. There are four people in hospital.
“Clearly these are encouraging figures today but it is just one moment in time,”
New Zealand cannot afford to squander the hard work and the advantage we‘ve “worked so hard for”, he said.
He now needed to be certain there was no community transmission so it was important continued to follow the level 3 rules as later this week they would truly know whether there were other infections due to the incubation period of Covid-19.
It was a risk that people now get complacent and celebrate zero cases so it was “very important” people stuck to the rules and remained diligent.
It is cause for celebration and it was symbolic of the effort that everyone had put in, Bloomfield said.
“This is the first day we‘ve had no new cases and we want to keep it that way.”