For the third consecutive day, there are no new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

This means New Zealand's combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1497, of which 1147 are confirmed.

There are now 1411 people reported as having recovered, an increase of nine on yesterday. This is 94 per cent of all confirmed and probable cases.

Today there are two people receiving hospital level care for Covid-19 – one each in Auckland and Middlemore hospitals. Neither are in ICU.

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There are still 16 significant clusters.

There are no additional deaths to report.

Yesterday, laboratories processed 6568 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 209,613.

The Ministry of Health in a statement today emphasised that, on day one of alert level 2, the behaviours which would keep Covid-19 out of the New Zealand environment continued to be important.

It said the key health measures in level 2 are:

• Keep your distance from other people when you're out in public, including on transport.

• Most importantly - if you're sick, stay home. Don't go to work or school. Don't socialise.

• If you have symptoms of cold or flu, call your doctor or Healthline immediately and get tested.

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• Good hand hygiene will continue to be a simple and effective tool to keep Covid-19 at bay.

• Keep your social gatherings to a maximum of 10 people at one time.

• Keep track of where you've been and who you've seen to help with contact tracing if necessary.

Clusters

The ministry had previously closed four clusters as they met the definition of two full transmission periods (the equivalent of 28 days) since their last case was notified.

In the meantime, the ministry received and accepted advice that it should use an improved definition of a closed cluster. This is that there should be two full transmission periods since the last case completed their isolation period.

The ministry is now using that definition and will also be applying it retrospectively, which means none of the four previous clusters are considered closed.

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"It's important to note that there has been no new disease activity in these clusters," it said in a statement today.

"We don't expect any clusters to close under the new definition until later this month.

"From a public health point of view, taking this step makes it easier for public health unit staff to retain appropriate public health measures such as isolation while they continue to learn all they can from the different clusters.

"From the public point of view, this means only minor changes to the information on our website."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / File
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / File

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said New Zealanders were on track for elimination but, with an ongoing risk of a second wave, he urged people to remain vigilant on physical distancing, hand hygiene, and staying home if sick.

"This is a stubborn virus and we don't want to be going down the path where we see spikes again."

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It comes after New Zealanders had their bubbles popped this morning, enabling people to embrace the new "safer normal", which included the reopening of shops, cafes, hairdressers and public parks.

"The ministry's advice remains to play it safe as no-one wants a second wave. Keep working and learning from home. Keep your distance from others when outside your bubble. Parties are still not on. Remain local, travel only within your region."

Carparks are filling at malls around the country as shoppers head out.

The Herald was at Westfield Albany just after 9am and found checkout queues with at least 50 people long at Kmart.

People queuing for a haircut at Northwest Mall. Photo / Dean Purcell
People queuing for a haircut at Northwest Mall. Photo / Dean Purcell

Children's clothes, toys and basic household goods like pillows seemed to be the items in most trolleys.

At Northwest Mall, there were queues of people waiting for haircuts.

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More than a dozen Aucklanders were waiting patiently in line on the North Shore's Birkenhead Avenue to get a fresh haircut early today. Video / Brett Phibbs

In Wellington, the iconic cable car was back up and running on what was described as a "beautiful level 2 morning".

Despite the driver giving a toot and a big wave, there were no passengers on its first trip after level 3 lockdown.

Lambton Quay was still subdued at about 8.30am, as workers eased back into the swing of things.

At 2pm today, the Government will deliver a Budget that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said will focus on jobs in a Covid-hit world that will see unemployment rise, businesses fall over and the Government's books swamped in debt.

It follows the political drama of yesterday, when political consensus was shattered after Opposition parties voted against Covid legislation for the first time.

The National Party described the Covid 19 Public Health Response Bill as executive overreach, and backed up criticism from The Human Rights Commission that the rushed process was "a great failure of our democratic process".

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The Opposition also criticised the warrantless searches of private property if there was a reasonable belief the alert level rules were being broken.

Ardern described the Bill, which passed under urgency, as providing more accountability, and it was needed to enable the enforcement of physical distancing and social gathering limits.