7 Apr 2020

Covid-19 lockdown: Police report hundreds flouting rules

4:22 pm on 7 April 2020

Police have reported that hundreds of people have breached the lockdown rules across the country.

Surfer. (File photo)

(File image). Photo: 123RF

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield gave an update on the number of breaches in a media conference this afternoon.

"There have been 291 breaches of the CDEM Act or the Health Act, 16 people have been prosecuted, 263 warnings and 10 youth referrals."

Meanwhile, police in Dunedin are continuing to spot surfers at the city's beaches despite orders last week that made it clear such activity was prohibited.

Police went to Long Beach, about 15km north of the central city, today to enforce the Covid-19 alert level four lockdown.

A police spokesperson said the surfers were compliant and left the area after being spoken to.

While people could leave their homes to exercise they needed to keep it local, and exercise should not include swimming or surfing, the spokesperson said.

The message was simple - stay at home, save lives, the spokesperson said.

Dr Bloomfield issued a Health Notice last week which provided further guidance on what was allowed in terms of activities.

The guidance also provided clarity around bubbles, he said.

"Specifically, if you live alone and have already established a bubble with another household this can be maintained so long as both households have no contact with others - that they stay in their joint bubble."

The new guidelines reinforced the ability of police to enforce them, he said.

Last week, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said police would have the discretion to warn or, if necessary, to arrest people if they persisted in deliberately flouting the restrictions.

"The Health Notice makes it clear what types of outdoor exercise and recreation people shouldn't do. Outside of that, we are asking people to stay local, apply common sense and not do anything that could risk exposure to injury or require search and rescue services."

The notice sets out:

  • Everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for essential personal movement.
  • Exercise is to be done in an outdoor place that can be readily accessed from home and two-metre physical distancing must be maintained.
  • Recreation and exercise does not involve swimming, water-based activities (for example, surfing or boating), hunting, tramping, or other activities of a kind that expose participants to danger or may require search and rescue services.
  • A child can leave the residence of one joint care-giver to visit or stay at the residence of another joint care-giver (and visit or stay at that residence) if there is a shared bubble arrangement.
  • A person can leave their residence to visit or stay at another residence (and visit or stay at that residence) under a shared bubble arrangement if: one person lives alone in one, or both of those residences or everyone in one of those residences is a vulnerable person.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

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