28 Apr 2020

Covid-19: NZ must 'be even more vigilant at level 3' - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

2:37 pm on 28 April 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says with more people returning to work under alert level 3 today, the country needs to be even more vigilant to prevent any inadvertent spreading of the Covid-19 virus.

Watch the PM giving her latest update here:

Speaking at her latest media conference this afternoon, she said people needed to continue to stay home where possible, stay regional when travelling, keep bubbles small and exclusive, and if people are feeling sick they should stay home, call their GP and get tested.

"As [University of Auckland microbiologist] Siouxsie Wiles said today, there are still some smouldering ashes out there and it has the potential to become a wildfire."

Ardern said the battle against community transmission was an ongoing one, and the move to a lower alert level depended on circumstances that were more complex than just a specific number of new cases.

"No one wants to see us go backwards."

She said she had no intention of dramatically lifting alert levels without notice.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 28: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 28, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Photo: 2020 Getty Images

Ardern said with another 400,000 workers going back to work today, about 75 percent of the country was now operating under level 3.

"However we also know that the lockdown has displaced many workers and there is a real need for jobs in our community."

She said the government wanted to keep businesses - particularly small businesses - operating and the government will continue to look at how it can help.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 28: Carmel Sepuloni speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 28, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni Photo: Pool / Getty Images

Speaking at the same conference, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said unemployment will rise before it improves.

Sepuloni said the government has launched 'Keep New Zealand Working' employment service initiatives, which will be delivered through the Ministry of Social Development.

She said the online platform was now live, connecting jobseekers to employers and providing training courses for those wanting to up-skill, and there will also be 35 more employment centres around the country.

"We're already seeing dramatic increases in unemployment in countries around the world like Australia and the UK, and New Zealand has not escaped this reality."

Earlier today, Ardern told Morning Report there was confidence New Zealand did not have community transmission, and now the country had moved to level 3 the same level of success was needed as during the lockdown.

Alert level 3 allows more people to go to work or school and more businesses to open.

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