21 Mar 2020

Coronavirus alert system: What you need to know

2:20 pm on 21 March 2020

New Zealand has a new alert system to manage the risk of Covid-19 and the response to it. Here's what you need to know.

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Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the new system from the Beehive in Wellington.

It would act in a similar way to existing warning systems, such as for fire risk or water usage, Ardern said.

The Covid-19 alert system could apply to the whole country or certain towns or cities. New Zealand was currently at Alert Level 2.

Ardern said at every level there would be things New Zealanders would need to do, and things the government would need to do.

- Alert Level 1 was where Covid-19 was here, but contained. This was a phase of preparation, which included introducing border measures, contact tracing and cancelling mass gatherings. These had been activated.

- Alert Level 2 was where the disease was contained but the risks were growing as cases grew. At this stage people would need to reduce contact with others. There would be increased border measures and events would be cancelled. People would also be required to work differently, and from home as much as possible. All non-essential travel would need to be cancelled.

- Alert Level 3 was where the disease was increasingly difficult to contain. Public venues and non-essential businesses would need to close.

- Alert Level 4 was when there was sustained transmission. Everyone would need to be isolated from each other. Essential services would continue, but everyone would be asked to stay at home.

Read more on the alert system here

At every alert level supermarkets and essential services, such as access to pharmaceuticals would continue.

Ardern urged New Zealanders to shop normally.

The alert system would be updated every time new cases were announced.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

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