Barring a second surge of positive Covid-19 coronavirus results, the Government plans to announce further details today on how we move to an alert level 1.
The official definition of level 1 is "the disease is contained in New Zealand" and our authorities, particularly Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, will need to be convinced that is the case.
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For this to occur, we must remain clear of community transmission - when infection spreads from one person to another without any direct link to the foreign source of infection. As of yesterday, New Zealand had 47 days clear of community transmission.
After being deemed clear of community transmission, the Government may still move to alert level 1 despite Covid-19 remaining uncontrolled overseas and with the possibility of isolated household transmission occurring in New Zealand.
Border entry measures will be in place to minimise the risk of importing Covid-19 cases. Just how this will look will be intensely anticipated by many, including tourism operators and the international education sector. This is the lifeline many have been struggling to tread water while awaiting.
The new normal under alert level 1 for those reliant on an influx of people will not be anything like the old normal however. Massey University demographer Paul Spoonley yesterday warned: "In terms of tourists and migrants, we're probably looking at a halt for two, three, or four years."
An intensive testing regime will remain in place at alert level 1 for Covid-19. This is essential for nipping any border intrusion or failure of contact isolation in the bud.
Rapid contact tracing will be required of any positive case. For this reason, contact tracing records will still be required under alert level 1. The Ministry of Health plans to launch a "digital diary" app from today with the capacity to track where New Zealanders go, without handing over personal details to businesses. This will be a welcome advance on the attempts by retailers and eateries that have devised systems ranging from the hopelessly naive to overblown intrusions.
Self-isolation and quarantine will still be required, particularly for those who have visited, or been in close contact with someone who has visited, a territory where Covid-19 outbreaks are uncontrolled.
Under alert level 1, the contentious restriction which has vexed church-goers and nightclubbers alike will be lifted and there will be no restrictions on gatherings. How this will be achieved is another detail keenly anticipated.
There'll be no restrictions on domestic transport, but people will be urged to avoid public transport or travel if sick.
As is the case now, schools and workplaces will be open under alert level 1, and must operate safely. Safe practise is the new normal and will be here to stay, even beyond level 1. Physical distancing will be encouraged - people must stay home if they are sick, and must report flu-like symptoms.
Also mandatory under alert level 1, and the permanent new normal: wash and dry hands thoroughly, cough into elbows, and don't touch faces.
Aotearoa has "effectively eliminated" Covid-19 - we can look forward to when we are 1.