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The co-owner of an Auckland shopping mall says it's "ridiculous" that some shops can be open while others are virtually mothballed - and says it will be "political suicide" if they can't all open under the level-2 rules announced today.
Glenfield Mall co-owner Dallas Pendergrast says Kiwis need to be given more credit to stay safe "without being directed every step of the way by the Government or Dr Bloomfield".
New Zealand will today receive a more detailed update on what the country will look like when it transitions into alert level 2, as early as next week.
"We need to get our mall open," Pendergrast told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today. "I was there yesterday... people were beavering away inside their closed shops, filling in time, twiddling their thumbs, yet in another area our supermarket was packed, busy, thriving... almost like normal but with queues. The pharmacy was open, some banks were open.
"Yet the rest of the shops... the mall was completely in mothballs. It looked they would never open again. It's a ridiculous situation that one part is allowed to be so busy and the rest is closed."
Pendergrast appeared before Parliament's Epidemic Committee last week to outline her concerns and she said a lot more people were now standing up for their rights.
Malls were big open spaces and people now needed to be trusted to follow physical distancing rules.
"You have to give people credit to do this without being directed every step of the way by the Government or Dr Bloomfield."
Cabinet will make its decision as to whether the country is ready to move from level 3 on Monday. But today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will reveal new level 2 details in an attempt to give people and businesses clarity around the next step.
The current advice, which is subject to change today, says gatherings of up to 100 people indoors, and 500 outdoors, will be allowed – as long as there are contact-tracing abilities.
Public venues, such as cafés and shops, can open under that advice and most schools will be allowed to reopen, as long as there is 1m physical distancing.
This earlier information advised against "non-essential inter-regional travel" - but domestic travel is expected to be a hotbed topic, with the tourism industry pushing for a relaxation of rules.
"We absolutely need a lifeline with regional travel," Skyline Enterprises CEO Geoff McDonald told Hosking.
"If we can get some domestic tourism happening, get families and New Zealanders moving around, supporting our attractions, I think it will help all of us out."
He wanted to see the Government say today: "We trust you, you guys can get it right, you can get safe and effective systems in, and we can see local tourism return."
The New Zealand situation contrasts with that of the United States and United Kingdom, who are still battling to overcome the devastating impact of the pandemic. Overnight, the number of deaths in the UK passed 30,000 - it is second only to the US for the number of fatalities.
There have been 3.6 million cases of Covid globally, with the overall death toll now at 260,000. In New Zealand, there have been 21 deaths - more than half from one Christchurch cluster, the Rosewood rest home.
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The Government's alert level guide says the country will move to alert level 2 when Cabinet is confident that Covid-19 is contained, and ministers are sure that it's safe.
The announcements today come as the number of new Covid-19 cases remains low.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday revealed that there were two new cases of Covid-19 – one confirmed and one probable.
This comes after two straight days where there were no new cases in New Zealand.
Bloomfield also revealed that 88 per cent of all confirmed and probable cases to date have now recovered.
However, Bloomfield also said there had been another Covid-19 death – a woman in her 60s who was a resident of the Rosewood Rest Home. She had underlying health conditions.
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Speaking to the Epidemic Response Committee, Bloomfield said Cabinet would not have all the data it needed to make its decision on moving to alert level 2 until the end of this week.
He said the virus had a two-week incubation period, so the full two weeks at level 3 was needed to gauge whether it was safe to move down a level.
And going into alert level 2 was dependent on where, if any, new cases were coming from, Bloomfield said.
Ardern was giving little away as to what level 2 might look like.
One area of interest will be around how the loosened restrictions will impact hospitals.
The Epidemic Committee yesterday heard from a number of people who said they had been failed by the health system in New Zealand, while the country was in lockdown.
Jennifer, 66, a pensioner in Northland, was told she had breast cancer during lockdown and any public treatment would be at least six months away.
She had to pay $15,000 out of her own pocket for treatment in Auckland – even after a discount from the doctor.
Now, she wants compensation from the Government as she is "financially vulnerable", as she told MPs.
Bjorn Reymer wasn't able to be with his pregnant wife when she was told she had miscarried at an Auckland hospital.
Instead, he told the committee that he had to stay in the carpark because of Covid-19 transmission concerns – concerns he said were invalid as hospital staff were not wearing PPE.
"She was given a box of tissues and left alone," Reymer said.
And Rebekah from Wellington, who did not want to give her last name, spoke of the trauma she suffered after her partner, Cameron, was made to leave the hospital soon after she had a baby.
"I don't support the draconian reasons for my partner not being able to be there," she said
"The requirement to be alone was inhumane."
Asked about this yesterday, Ardern said this instance does not "fit with our expectations that no one should birth alone".
"Everyone should be able to have a support person with them through that experience."
In fact, none of the experiences brought up in the committee sounded fair, she said.
"I don't think anyone would think that even in these extraordinary times that that would be reasonable."
She, and Bloomfield, said officials would look into these instances.
"Our duty of care is to try and reduce that burden as much as we can," Ardern said.
"These are cases where it doesn't sound like we have done that to the best of our ability."