Planning on heading away this long weekend? Health officials are warning that if people catch Covid while they are on the road, they may need to self-isolate wherever they test positive or become a household contact.
"There may be extra costs involved in paying for additional accommodation and changing your travel plans," the Ministry of Health said this afternoon .
If a case had used their own vehicle to travel, they could go back to their home to isolate but needed to take public health measures to ensure they didn't infect anyone on their way home.
This included maintaining social distance and using self-service petrol stations, the ministry said.
However, if a person had used public transport or travelled between islands, they would not be able to isolate at home.
It was important that they had a plan and the ability to isolate where they were holidaying, if they needed to, the ministry said.
It comes as the ministry announced 9563 new community cases of Covid-19 and a further 16 virus-related deaths today .
There are 519 people in hospital, including 24 cases in intensive care.
These deaths all occurred over the past 13 days, including 12 in the past two days.
The health ministry said there were three actions people could take to protect themselves and others over Easter.
• be up to date with vaccinations, including a booster if you've not yet had one. If you are planning to be away this long weekend, get boosted before you go.
• wear a mask. Masks are still required in many indoor settings. A good rule of thumb is to wear a mask in indoor public settings as we know that mask use halves the risk of spreading Covid-19. You must also wear a face mask on all flights and public transport, in taxis and ride-share services — unless you are exempt.
• stay at home and avoid others if you're unwell, isolating or waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test.
The deaths reported today take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 547.
The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 13.
Two of these people were aged in their 60s, six in their 70s, four in their 80s, and four over 90.
Five were from the Auckland region, four from Waikato, two from Bay of Plenty, one from Lakes DHB area, one from MidCentral, one from Whanganui and two people from Canterbury.
"This is a very sad time for whānau and friends and our thoughts are with them. Out of respect, we will be making no further comment," the ministry said in a statement.
Today's community cases are in: Northland (476), Auckland (1,903), Waikato (744), Bay of Plenty (410), Lakes (185), Hawke's Bay (357), MidCentral (415), Whanganui (202), Taranaki (314), Tairāwhiti (78), Wairarapa (107), Capital and Coast (650), Hutt Valley (382) Nelson Marlborough (329), Canterbury (1,617), South Canterbury (199), Southern (1,089) and the West Coast (103).
The location of three cases is unknown.
The seven-day rolling average of case numbers has again declined. Today's seven-day rolling average is 8990 while last Thursday it was 11,791.
Reported community case numbers were expected to continue to fluctuate day to day, the ministry said, but the overall trend remained a reduction in reported cases.
There are 519 people in hospital. They are in Northland (37), Waitemata (84), Counties Manukau (90), Auckland (84), Waikato (40), Bay of Plenty (16), Lakes (nine), Tairāwhiti (two), Hawke's Bay (11), Taranaki (seven), Whanganui (four), MidCentral (22), Wairarapa (one), Hutt Valley (25), Capital and Coast (seven), Nelson Marlborough (10), Canterbury: (41) South Canterbury (four), West Coast (one) and Southern (24).
The average age of the cases in Northern region hospitals is 57.
The vaccination statuses of the cases hospitalised in the Northern region are:
• Unvaccinated or not eligible: 58 cases / 20 per cent
• Partially immunised
• Double vaccinated at least seven days before being reported as a case: 88 cases / 30 per cent
• Received booster at least seven days before being reported as a case: 125 cases / 43 per cent
• Unknown: 9 cases / 3 per cent
To date, 71.7 per cent of New Zealanders have been boosted.
For Māori and Pasifika, this figure is 56.1 per cent and 57.9 per cent respectively.
Just over 54 per cent of children aged 5-11 have had their first dose of vaccine and 21.1 per cent have had two.
The move to orange
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday positive signs - including a fall in new case numbers - meant it was time to relax restrictions and depart from the red setting.
"We are over the peak, we are coming down the other side; in some places we're coming well down," he said of the move to the orange setting.
Under the new setting the 200 people-cap for indoor hospitality venues, events and gatherings has been lifted.
Face masks are also not required to be worn in as many places, including in bars, restaurants and even schools.
However, they must still be worn when visiting shops, which has left retailers fuming.
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said a lack of progress on them was infuriating.
"While it is good news that the country is moving to orange, it is absurd that the Government is removing mask requirements in the hospitality and education sectors, but keeping them for retail," he said.
Hipkins has defended the new mask-wearing rules.
He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that mask rules remained in supermarkets and other shops because it was likely that elderly and immunocompromised people had to visit these places. The rules were now removed for nightclubs and bars because people had a choice to attend those places.
"Masks are required where you have to go, so you have to go to the supermarket. If you're going out to a nightclub, it's a choice to go there and you're taking on a higher degree of risk."
Meanwhile, the move to orange means Air New Zealand passengers no longer need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to fly domestically.
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said it was a move in the right direction to make travelling easier for people.
"I'm seeing encouraging signs with bookings so I'm pretty excited about what we're seeing from the Government."