New Zealand has had its 10th straight day of single-digit coronavirus cases, with just three new cases reported on Tuesday afternoon - and just 239 active cases in total.
But that good news (along with the overnight lifting of the level-4 lockdown restrictions) also came with a warning from Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield for people to keep their distance as they rush to buy takeaway coffees and hamburgers.
Bloomfield also sought to clarify comments he made yesterday about achieving elimination, saying that he meant it in the context of alert level 4 and the pursuit of elimination was ongoing.
He said he had enjoyed a takeaway coffee today, but it was important not to congregate outside cafes or in carparks of takeaway places.
"We do not want to see the sorts of rebounds we have seen in other countries."
He said his observations on alert level 3 so far prompted him to repeat advice publicly: "There will be a temptation to see your friends ... whether you're congregating for a coffee or takeaways. Physical distancing remains very important. I just want to reiterate that."
There were a lot of people walking and cycling at level 4, and he said people should maintain regular physical activity as we dropped through alert levels.
He clarified that people can hug people in their own bubble, and that may be a good reason to extend a bubble to include one more bubble. Those bubbles are meant to be exclusive and faithful to each other.
Asked about contact-tracing, Bloomfield said the capacity was still being built up to from about 185 cases today to 300 cases.
Today's three new cases are made up of two confirmed cases and one probable case.
Two are linked to known cases, and one - in South Canterbury - is under investigation. The total number of confirmed and probable cases is 1472 - this includes 1214 recoveries.
The number of active cases is now just 239 and there have been 19 deaths. There are no additional deaths to report today.
The were 2146 tests yesterday, bringing the total number of tests to 126,066.
Thirty-four more people have recovered, meaning 82 per cent have now recovered. There are nine people in hospital, including one person in the ICU in Middlemore.
People at a Hawke's Bay holiday park were being tested, Bloomfield said, and so far there were no positive results.
Elimination is an 'ongoing effort'
There are two recent cases of community transmission since April 1.
Bloomfield said more cases will continue to pop up, and overseas experience shows how quickly those numbers can rise again if "we take our foot off the pedal".
Yesterday he said elimination had been achieved, but today he said he only meant that in the context of alert level 4.
Elimination was not a point in time, but a sustained and ongoing effort "to keep it out and stamp it out".
"We haven't eliminated it and we haven't eradicated it. Elimination is not a point in time.
"Our elimination goal continues into alert level 3, and to maintain that we need to be even more vigilant."
He referred to epidemiologist Sir David Skegg's definition of a small number of cases and an ability to stamp those out quickly.
He said there may still be undetected cases in New Zealand, but the lockdown has helped contain those chains of transmission and ongoing surveillance testing would continue to seek out undetected cases.
A critical benchmark was the timeliness of contacting close contacts, he said, and from April 13 to 17 80 per cent of them were contacted within 48 hours.
He said the testing of mild symptoms was key to moving down to alert level 2, including a loss of smell or taste.
Bloomfield said a 12-day delay from getting a test result was unacceptable, but he added that a negative test confirmation might take longer than a positive result.
He had not seen any reports about possible larger blood vessel clots or strokes among young people with Covid-19 - but he said he was keeping a close eye on developments on a daily basis.
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New Zealand is now the focus of headlines in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia.
The Daily Telegraph in the UK reported New Zealand being on the verge of a "brilliant victory" and Australia's mass-market news.com website said New Zealand had won a major battle. The New York Times and Washington Post have both featured articles on how New Zealand is combating the threat.
There still might be undetected cases in New Zealand, and Bloomfield said each DHB was making surveillance plans to test in all regions and demographics, as well as workplaces such as hospitals, aged-care facilities and supermarkets.
Last week he said the gold standard of contact-tracing was being able to trace and isolate 80 per cent of contacts within three days.
"I believe we are at that point," he said yesterday.
The ministry can now trace contacts for 185 cases, but this is still well short of the 1000 cases that was flagged in the independent audit of contact-tracing capacity.
New Zealanders awoke this morning to more freedoms at level 3, which will remain for at least another two weeks.
From today, people can get takeaways for dinner and to-go coffees from their favourite café, as long as there is no person-to-person contact.
Kiwis will also be able to fish and surf under level 3, and there are an estimated 400,000 people who will return to work today.