The first days of level 3 lockdown have come with important reminders for New Zealanders to obey physical distancing guidelines, as schools reopen and the quest continues to contain Covid-19. Get all the important news and read the full stories in the links below.
Key developments in NZ
• Winston Peters has revealed the Government rejected advice to close New Zealand's border to anyone coming to the country amid the Covid-19 crisis. Peters said the Ministry of Health was pushing strongly for the closure of borders - including to New Zealanders seeking to return home - but Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials pushed back hard on the suggestion. Peters said the advice was understandable and appropriate from a health perspective, but Kiwis overseas would have "never forgotten" if the Government had turned its back on New Zealanders in other countries.
• There were 104 lockdown breaches on the first day of alert level 3, with 21 people prosecuted, 71 warnings issued, and 742 complaints laid about businesses flouting the rules, mainly about a lack of physical distancing. The most notable came after photos emerged of people congregating at a BurgerFuel outlet in Auckland. The company responded by putting crowd controllers outside all its 56 New Zealand stores. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the overall message was still the same: "Stay home, save lives." Bloomfield also revealed there were two new cases of Covid-19 today, made up of one confirmed case and one probable. It is the 11th day in a row where case numbers have been in single digits.
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• Schools are officially open again - but one in six schools are not expecting any students through their doors this week. Principals' Federation president Perry Rush says parents have got the message that they should keep children at home at level 3 if they possibly can, and many are still worried about the health risks of sending them to school. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed that 7713 children showed up to early childhood centres this morning - 4 per cent attendance - and 11,846 students showed up to school, an attendance rate of 1 per cent.
• Health Minister David Clark completed a house move while the rest of the country was in lockdown, but insists he didn't breach the rules for a third time. Clark was spotted moving to another property a few hundred metres from his previous home as lockdown loomed, and has since been seen going between the two. He said he had not broken any rules and had used his previous house as a work office while the country was under level 4 restrictions. National leader Simon Bridges called on Clark to resign, but Ardern said Clark, who has already been criticised for breaking the lockdown rules by driving his family to the beach and going mountain biking on a trail during level 4, had not broken the rules in this instance.
• New Zealand's health system was poorly prepared to "keep out" Covid-19 - and we have had to endure extraordinary sacrifices to "stamp it out", MPs have been told. University of Auckland Professor Des Gorman said public health units were under-resourced and there was a shortage of personal protective equipment for health workers.
• As New Zealand moves out of lockdown, new cases of Covid-19 are still emerging. The Herald talks to some of the country's top scientists to find out why, after a month of "staying home", cases of the potentially deadly virus continue to crop up.
• The Deputy Prime Minister says New Zealand should rebuild the likes of its pharmaceutical industry, and has slammed the current structure of the New Zealand economy. Winston Peters believes New Zealand's economy is too reliant on Fonterra selling dairy to China, and can't go back to the way it was once the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.
• Retail store Farmers has told staff it will continue to reduce wages as long as the store cannot open its doors. Farmers stores are not physically open under level 3 but, like many other retailers, the company is offering deliveries. Staff were being paid 80 per cent of normal wages, but that was likely to drop to 70 per cent in May and 60 per cent in June if stores were still not open then. Some staff have already been let go.
Around the world
• As the level 4 lockdown lifted on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern managed to carve out the time to speak to the Queen. Ardern said it was "such a treat" to speak to the 94-year-old monarch. "Her affection for New Zealand, her interest in what's happening here and her memory of places and events that are special to us never ceases to amaze me."
• The director general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said "the world should have listened" to the UN agency's advice to avoid the coronavirus pandemic becoming so dire. As global cases pass 3 million, and more than 212,000 deaths from the disease, WHO leader Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic is "far from over" and countries should have heeded his warnings months ago. He said the UN agency sounded the alarm on January 30 by raising the alert to a global health emergency – the highest level – when just 82 deaths from the virus were recorded.
The last word
• The first day of freedom from the joyless confines of level 4 lockdown will go down as one of the greatest days in the history of the New Zealand appetite, writes Steve Braunias, reflecting on the historic day the nation finally quit baking.