Health experts say New Zealanders will one day be forced into life at alert level 2 again amid concerns from officials around complacency towards Covid-19.

Alert level 2 started on May 14 and ended on June 8 when alert level 1 was introduced.

And in the 85 days since the move to level 2, one could easily be forgiven for forgetting what restrictions are in place at the alert level.

Kiwis have been urged all week by health officials to start using the contact tracing app and to stock up on face masks before a second wave of the virus strikes.

Advertisement

Today, University of Otago Medical School epidemiologist Sir David Skegg told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking the chances of reentering level 2 were high.

"But not next week or next month, I hope," Skegg said. "This virus is going to be around for a long time.

Narrow Neck Beach Playground was busy as children take advantage of level 2 in May. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Narrow Neck Beach Playground was busy as children take advantage of level 2 in May. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"It's only a few months ago everyone was saying it's going to be a short, sharp shock. But, we're talking probably years here.

"Unfortunately, the world is a different place and it's almost inevitable with the possibilities of human error, that sooner or later, we will have incursions of the virus into New Zealand."

The virus is deemed to be contained at alert level 2, however, there was a risk of community transmission.

Single or isolated cluster outbreaks is a major risk at level 2, as is household transmission of the potentially deadly virus.

And so, a range of measures could be introduced locally or nationally including a limit of 100 people at gatherings.

Businesses could remain open to the public but only if they follow public health guidance including physical distancing and record keeping.

Advertisement

People will be asked to keep a physical distance of 2m from those they don't know while out in public or in retail stores.

Subscribe to Premium

A distance of 1m physical distancing would be required in controlled environments like workplaces, where practical.

Restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses must keep groups of customers separated, seated and served by a single person.

However, there would be a maximum limit of 100 people at a time to a defined place.

Event facilities like cinemas, stadiums, concert venues and occasions could have more than 100 people in at a time, providing there is no more than 100 to a defined area and the groups do not mix.

A rush-hour of sorts - downtown Auckland during alert level 2. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
A rush-hour of sorts - downtown Auckland during alert level 2. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Subject to conditions on gatherings, record keeping and physical distancing, sport and recreation activities are allowed to continue.

Advertisement

Health and disability care services can operate as normally as possible.

Children can be sent to school, early learning services and tertiary education if appropriate measures were put in place.

People with underlying medical conditions would be asked to take additional measures when leaving home given they are more at risk of catching the virus.