COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand

The COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand is part of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case of the disease in New Zealand was reported on 28 February 2020. As of 17 November 2020, the country has had a total of 2,005 cases (1,649 confirmed and 356 probable[a]), of which 61 are currently active, and 25 people have died from the virus, with cases recorded in all twenty district health board (DHB) areas.[1] The pandemic peaked in early April, with 89 new cases recorded per day and 929 active cases.

COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in New Zealand (DHB Totals, per capita).svg
Map of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in New Zealand by district health board
  60+ cases
  30–60 cases
  20–29 cases
  10–19 cases
  1–9 cases
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in New Zealand (DHB Totals).svg
Map of cases in New Zealand by district health board
  200+ confirmed cases
  100–199 confirmed cases
  50–99 confirmed cases
  10–49 confirmed cases
  1–9 confirmed cases
COVID-19 Outbreak Deaths in New Zealand (DHB Totals).svg
Map of deaths in New Zealand by district health board
  10+ confirmed deaths
  2–9 confirmed deaths
  1 confirmed death
  0 confirmed deaths
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationNew Zealand
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseAuckland, Auckland Region
Arrival date28 February 2020
(9 months and 1 day ago)
Confirmed cases1,649[1] (total)
Active cases61[1]
Suspected cases356[1] (total)
Recovered1,919[1]
Deaths
25[1]
Fatality rate1.25%
Government website
www.covid19.govt.nz
Suspected cases have not been confirmed by laboratory tests as being due to this strain, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

All borders and entry ports of New Zealand were closed to all non-residents on 19 March 2020, with returning citizens and residents being required to self-isolate. Since 10 April, all New Zealanders returning from overseas must go into two weeks of managed isolation.

A four-level alert level system was introduced on 21 March to manage the outbreak within New Zealand. The Alert Level was initially set at Level 2, but was subsequently raised to Level 3 on the afternoon of 23 March. Beginning on 25 March, the Alert Level was moved to Level 4, putting the country into a nationwide lockdown. The Alert Level was moved back down to Level 3 on 27 April, partially lifting some lockdown restrictions, and down to Level 2 on 13 May, lifting the rest of the lockdown restrictions while maintaining physical distancing and gathering size limits. The country moved down to Level 1 on 8 June, removing all remaining restrictions except border controls.

On 11 August, four cases of COVID-19 from an unknown source were reported in Auckland, the first from an unknown source in 102 days. At noon the following day, the Auckland Region moved up to alert level 3, while the rest of the country was moved to level 2.[2][3][4] On 30 August at 11:59 pm, Auckland moved down to "Alert Level 2.5", a modified version of Alert Level 2 with limitation on public gatherings, funerals, and weddings.[5][6][7] On 23 September at 11:59 pm, Auckland moved down to Alert Level 2, after the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 1 on 21 September at 11:59pm.[8][9]

New Zealand's approach to the pandemic has been widely praised internationally for its quick and tough action over the virus, having completed 1,030,115 tests as of 18 October 2020.

Background

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was the cause of a respiratory illness (coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19), found in a cluster of people in Wuhan, Hubei, Peoples Republic of China, which had been reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[10][11]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[12][13] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll worldwide.[14][12]

Transmission timeline

COVID-19 cases in New Zealand  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-02-28
1(n.a.)
1(=)
2020-03-04
2(+1)
2020-03-05
4(+2)
2020-03-06
4(=)
2020-03-07
5(+1)
5(=)
2020-03-14
6(+1)
2020-03-15
8(+2)
2020-03-16
8(=)
2020-03-17
12(+4)
2020-03-18
20(+8)
2020-03-19
28(+8)
2020-03-20
39(+11)
2020-03-21
52(+13)
2020-03-22
66(+14)
2020-03-23
102(+36)
2020-03-24
155(+53)
2020-03-25
205(+50)
2020-03-26
283(+78)
2020-03-27
368(+85)
2020-03-28
451(+83)
2020-03-29
514(+63) 1(n.a.)
2020-03-30
589(+75) 1(=)
2020-03-31
647(+58) 1(=)
2020-04-01
708(+61) 1(=)
2020-04-02
797(+89) 1(=)
2020-04-03
868(+71) 1(=)
2020-04-04
950(+82) 1(=)
2020-04-05
1,039(+89) 1(=)
2020-04-06
1,106(+67) 1(=)
2020-04-07
1,160(+54) 1(=)
2020-04-08
1,210(+50) 1(=)
2020-04-09
1,239(+29) 1(=)
2020-04-10
1,283(+44) 2(+1)
2020-04-11
1,312(+29) 4(+2)
2020-04-12
1,330(+18) 4(=)
2020-04-13
1,349(+19) 5(+1)
2020-04-14
1,366(+17) 9(+4)
2020-04-15
1,386(+20) 9(=)
2020-04-16
1,401(+15) 9(=)
2020-04-17
1,409(+8) 11(+2)
2020-04-18
1,422(+13) 11(=)
2020-04-19
1,431(+9) 12(+1)
2020-04-20
1,440(+9) 12(=)
2020-04-21
1,445(+5) 13(+1)
2020-04-22
1,448(+3) 14(+1)
2020-04-23
1,451(+3) 16(+2)
2020-04-24
1,456(+5) 17(+1)
2020-04-25
1,461(+5) 18(+1)
2020-04-26
1,470(+9) 18(=)
2020-04-27
1,469(-1) 19(+1)
2020-04-28
1,472(+3) 19(=)
2020-04-29
1,474(+2) 19(=)
2020-04-30
1,476(+2) 19(=)
2020-05-01
1,479(+3) 19(=)
2020-05-02
1,485(+6) 20(+1)
2020-05-03
1,487(+2) 20(=)
2020-05-04
1,487(=) 20(=)
2020-05-05
1,486(-1) 20(=)
2020-05-06
1,488(+2) 21(+1)
2020-05-07
1,489(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-08
1,490(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-09
1,492(+2) 21(=)
2020-05-10
1,494(+2) 21(=)
2020-05-11
1,497(+3) 21(=)
2020-05-12
1,497(=) 21(=)
2020-05-13
1,497(=) 21(=)
2020-05-14
1,497(=) 21(=)
2020-05-15
1,498(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-16
1,498(=) 21(=)
2020-05-17
1,499(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-18
1,499(=) 21(=)
2020-05-19
1,503(=[b]) 21(=)
2020-05-20
1,503(=) 21(=)
2020-05-21
1,503(=) 21(=)
2020-05-22
1,504(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-23
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-24
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-25
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-26
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-27
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-28
1,504(=) 22(+1)
2020-05-29
1,504(=) 22(=)
1,504(=) 22(=)
2020-06-08
1,504(=) 22(=)
1,504(=) 22(=)
2020-06-16
1,506(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-17
1,506(=) 22(=)
2020-06-18
1,507(+1) 22(=)
2020-06-19
1,507(=) 22(=)
2020-06-20
1,509(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-21
1,511(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-22
1,513(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-23
1,515(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-24
1,516(+1) 22(=)
2020-06-25
1,519(+3) 22(=)
2020-06-26
1,520(+1) 22(=)
2020-06-27
1,522(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-28
1,526(+4) 22(=)
2020-06-29
1,528(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-30
1,528(=) 22(=)
2020-07-01
1,528(=) 22(=)
2020-07-02
1,530(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-03
1,530(=) 22(=)
2020-07-04
1,530(=) 22(=)
2020-07-05
1,533(+3) 22(=)
2020-07-06
1,534(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-07
1,536(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-08
1,537(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-09
1,540(+3) 22(=)
2020-07-10
1,542(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-11
1,543(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-12
1,544(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-13
1,544(=) 22(=)
2020-07-14
1,545(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-15
1,547(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-16
1,548(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-17
1,549(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-18
1,550(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-19
1,553(+3) 22(=)
2020-07-20
1,554(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-21
1,555(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-22
1,555(=) 22(=)
2020-07-23
1,555(=) 22(=)
2020-07-24
1,556(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-25
1,556(=) 22(=)
2020-07-26
1,556(=) 22(=)
2020-07-27
1,556(=) 22(=)
2020-07-28
1,557(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-29
1,559(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-30
1,560(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-31
1,560(=) 22(=)
2020-08-01
1,562(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-02
1,565(+3) 22(=)
2020-08-03
1,567(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-04
1,567(=) 22(=)
2020-08-05
1,569(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-06
1,569(=) 22(=)
1,569(=) 22(=)
2020-08-10
1,569(=) 22(=)
2020-08-11
1,574(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-12
1,579(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-13
1,589(+10) 22(=)
2020-08-14
1,602(+13) 22(=)
2020-08-15
1,609(+7) 22(=)
2020-08-16
1,622(+13) 22(=)
2020-08-17
1,631(+9) 22(=)
2020-08-18
1,643(+12) 22(=)
2020-08-19
1,649(+6) 22(=)
2020-08-20
1,654(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-21
1,665(+11) 22(=)
2020-08-22
1,671(+6) 22(=)
2020-08-23
1,674(+3) 22(=)
2020-08-24
1,683(+9) 22(=)
2020-08-25
1,690(+7) 22(=)
2020-08-26
1,695(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-27
1,702(+7) 22(=)
2020-08-28
1,714(+12) 22(=)
2020-08-29
1,727(+13) 22(=)
2020-08-30
1,729(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-31
1,738(+9) 22(=)
2020-09-01
1,752(+14) 22(=)
2020-09-02
1,757(+5) 22(=)
2020-09-03
1,759(+2) 22(=)
2020-09-04
1,764(+5) 22(=)
2020-09-05
1,767(+3) 24(+2)
2020-09-06
1,772(+5) 24(=)
2020-09-07
1,776(+4) 24(=)
2020-09-08
1,782(+6) 24(=)
2020-09-09
1,788(+6) 24(=)
2020-09-10
1,792(+4) 24(=)
2020-09-11
1,793(+1) 24(=)
2020-09-12
1,795(+2) 24(=)
2020-09-13
1,797(+2) 24(=)
2020-09-14
1,798(+1) 24(=)
2020-09-15
1,801(+3) 24(=)
2020-09-16
1,802(+1) 25(+1)
2020-09-17
1,809(+7) 25(=)
2020-09-18
1,809(=) 25(=)
2020-09-19
1,811(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-20
1,815(+4) 25(=)
2020-09-21
1,815(=) 25(=)
2020-09-22
1,815(=) 25(=)
2020-09-23
1,824(+3[c]) 25(=)
2020-09-24
1,827(+3) 25(=)
2020-09-25
1,829(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-26
1,831(+1[d]) 25(=)
2020-09-27
1,833(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-28
1,833(=) 25(=)
2020-09-29
1,835(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-30
1,836(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-01
1,848(+12) 25(=)
2020-10-02
1,848(=) 25(=)
2020-10-03
1,849(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-04
1,854(+5) 25(=)
2020-10-05
1,855(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-06
1,858(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-07
1,861(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-08
1,864(+2[e]) 25(=)
2020-10-09
1,866(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-10
1,870(+4) 25(=)
2020-10-11
1,871(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-12
1,871(=) 25(=)
2020-10-13
1,872(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-14
1,874(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-15
1,876(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-16
1,880(+4) 25(=)
2020-10-17
1,883(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-18
1,886(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-19
1,886(=) 25(=)
2020-10-20
1,887(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-21
1,912(+25) 25(=)
2020-10-22
1,914(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-23
1,923(+9) 25(=)
2020-10-24
1,934(+11) 25(=)
2020-10-25
1,935(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-26
1,940(+5) 25(=)
2020-10-27
1,941(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-28
1,943(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-29
1,949(+6) 25(=)
2020-10-30
1,950(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-31
1,957(+7) 25(=)
2020-11-01
1,959(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-02
1,963(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-03
1,968(+5) 25(=)
2020-11-04
1,971(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-05
1,973(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-06
1,974(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-07
1,976(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-08
1,982(+6) 25(=)
2020-11-09
1,986(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-10
1,987(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-11
1,988(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-12
1,991(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-13
1,995(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-14
1,998(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-15
2,001(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-16
2,001(+1[f]) 25(=)
2020-11-17
2,005(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-18
2,008(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-19
2,010(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-20
2,013(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-21
2,019(+6) 25(=)
2020-11-22
2,028(+9) 25(=)
2020-11-23
2,030(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-24
2,031(+2[g]) 25(=)
2020-11-25
2,039(+8) 25(=)
2020-11-26
2,040(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-27
2,047(+7) 25(=)
2020-11-28
2,050(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-29
2,052(+2) 25(=)
Sources: Official reports from the New Zealand Ministry of Health[21][22]
  • Note: "# of cases" includes both confirmed and probable cases.

On 28 February 2020, New Zealand confirmed its first case, a woman in her 60s who had recently visited Iran and returned to Auckland on 26 February.[23][24]

New Zealand confirmed its second case on 4 March, a woman in her 30s who had recently returned from northern Italy.[25] The number of cases continued to rise significantly through March 2020, reaching a total of 647 (600 confirmed and 47 probable) and 74 recoveries by 31 March.[26]

On 29 March, New Zealand also reported its first coronavirus-related death, a woman in her 70s from the West Coast region.[27][28]

On 1 April 61 new cases were reported (47 confirmed and 14 probable), bringing the total to 708 (647 confirmed and 61 probable).[29] On 5 April, ethnicity statistics were released; indicating that 74% of those who had contracted COVID-19 were Pākehā, 8.3% Asian, 7.6% Māori, and 3.3% Pasifika.[30] By 30 April, the total number of cases had reached 1,476 (1,129 confirmed and 347 probable) while the total number of recoveries had risen to 1,241 and the death toll to 19.[31]

On 1 May, there were a total of 1,479 cases (1,132 confirmed and 347 probable) and 1,252 recoveries reported.[32] By 31 May, there were no new cases, keeping the total number at 1,504 (1,154 confirmed and 350 probable). The number of recovered had risen to 1,481 while the death toll reached 22. The last hospitalised person was also discharged on 27 May with only one active case remaining in the country by the end of the month.[33]

On 8 June, the last active case was declared as recovered.[34] By 19 June, Director-General Ashley Bloomfield confirmed that a total of 327,460 tests had been conducted in New Zealand with 6,273 tested the previous day.[35] After 24 consecutive days of no new cases, two new imported cases from the United Kingdom were reported on 16 June.[36] By 30 June, there were a total of 22 active cases (all resulting from overseas travel) in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,528 cases (1,178 confirmed and 350 probable). The number of recovered also rose to 1,484 while the death toll has remained at 22.[37]

By 31 July, there were 20 active cases (all resulting from overseas travel) in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,560 cases (1,210 confirmed and 350 probable). The total number of recovered had risen to 1,518 while the death toll has remained at 22.[38]

Following 102 days of no community transmissions, four such cases were reported in Auckland on 11 August, putting the city back into lockdown.[39] According to 1 News, Pacific Islanders made up 75% of the cases in the August community outbreak in Auckland.[40] By 31 August, there were 131 active cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,738 (1,387 confirmed and 351 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 1,585 while the death toll remained at 22.[41] The resurgence of coronavirus also prompted Ardern to delay the 2020 New Zealand general election from 19 September to 17 October.

On 4 September, after 98 days with no deaths, the country's 23rd death from COVID-19 was reported in Auckland.[42] The following day, the death of former Cook Islands prime minister Joe Williams, who was admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in August, was announced.[43] By 30 September, there were a total of 44 cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,836 (1,480 confirmed and 356 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 1,780 while the death toll had reached 25.[44]

On 21 October, 25 new cases were reported, the majority of which came from foreign fishing crews who had quarantined at a hotel in Christchurch, while 2 cases of community transmission were reported among port workers, the first since 25 September.[45] By 31 October, there were a total of 75 cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number of cases to 1,957 (1,601 confirmed and 356 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 1,857 while the death toll has remained 25.[46]

Responses and reactions

 
New Zealand's Swiss cheese model for managing COVID-19[47]

Central government responses

 
Two cruise ships—Celebrity Solstice and Azamara Journey—in Port Chalmers on 15 March

January 2020

The Ministry of Health set up the National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC) on 28 January in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.[48] On 30 January, an "Infectious and Notifiable Diseases" came into effect, which required health practitioners to report any suspected cases under the Health Act 1956.[49][50]

February 2020

On 3 February, the New Zealand Government barred entry to foreign travellers who have left China, permitting only New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and family entry into the country.[51] Universities asked for the Government to exempt Chinese students travelling to study in New Zealand.[52][53] Foreigners who left China and spent at least 14 days in another country were permitted to enter New Zealand.[54] On 24 February, the Government extended travel restrictions on China by an additional eight days.[55]

On 7 February, the Health Ministry also set up a dedicated Healthline freephone number (0800 358 5453) for COVID-19-related calls.[56] In addition, a Government–chartered Air New Zealand flight evacuated 193 passengers (including 55 New Zealanders and 44 permanent residents) from Wuhan in early February.[57][58] Following the country's first recorded cased on 28 February resulting from overseas travel, the Government extended the country's travel restrictions to include travellers coming from Iran.[59]

March 2020

On 14 March, ahead of the first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque shootings which resulted in the deaths of 51 people, a national remembrance service was cancelled out of concerns over the virus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision was a pragmatic one, adding, "We're very saddened to cancel [it], but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn't create the risk of further harm being done." An Auckland festival celebrating Pacific culture was also cancelled.[60] Ardern announced that, effective 01:00 on 16 March, all travellers arriving in or returning to New Zealand from outside of the country must self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all travellers, even if they are New Zealand citizens, but excludes travel from the Pacific islands unless the traveller is symptomatic. In addition, restrictions were placed on travel to the Pacific islands from New Zealand, barring travel to the region by those showing signs of coronavirus symptoms, as well as close contacts of coronavirus patients. Cruise ships will be prohibited from docking in New Zealand until 30 June. Ardern described these as being among the "widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world".[61][62][63]

On 16 March, Ardern called for a halt to public gatherings of more than 500 people and warned that the outbreak could lead to a recession greater than the 2008 global financial crisis.[64][65]

On 17 March, Health Minister David Clark announced that the Government would deport foreign tourists who flout self-quarantine restrictions.[66] That same day, Immigration New Zealand placed two foreign tourists into forced quarantine for defying Government requirements to self-quarantine for two weeks. The tourists were ordered to leave New Zealand following their quarantine.[67][68] Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a $12.1 billion COVID-19 business package that included $8.7 billion for businesses and jobs, $2.8 billion for income support, $500 million for health, and $600 million for the aviation sector and to support supply chains (this did not include any support for Air New Zealand).[69][70][71]

On 18 March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) urged all New Zealanders travelling overseas to return home.[72] In addition, Ardern announced that the New Zealand and Australian Governments would be cancelling Anzac Day services scheduled to be held at Gallipoli in Turkey in response to travel restrictions and the coronavirus outbreak.[73][74]

On 19 March, the Government required the cancellation of indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. This did not apply to workplaces, schools, supermarkets or public transport.[75][76] Ardern announced the closure of New Zealand's borders to all but New Zealand citizens and residents, with effect after 11:59 pm that night. Unlike the previous travel restrictions, this ban also includes Pacific Islanders. Returning New Zealanders are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry. The partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with returning New Zealand can return but will need to self-isolate as well.[77][78] However, Samoan and Tongan citizens travelling to New Zealand for essential reasons, "essential health workers", and those seeking to enter the country for humanitarian reasons are exempt from the travel ban.[79]

On 21 March, Ardern introduced a country-wide alert level system to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, similar to the existing fire warning systems. There are four levels, with 1 being the least risk of infection and 4 the highest. The Alert Level was set to 2 and people over 70 years old and those with compromised immune systems were asked to stay at home.[80]

 
An Emergency Mobile Alert sent at 18:30 on 25 March 2020, informing of the imminent move to Alert Level 4.

On 22 March, Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare announced that the Government would invest $56.4 million in funding to aid Māori communities and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes investing $30 million to directly support Māori health workers, $15 million to supporting to Whānau Ora commissioning agencies, and $10 million to support the community outreach.[81]

On 23 March, Ardern raised the Alert Level to 3 and announced the closure of all schools, beginning that day. She also announced that the Alert Level would rise to 4 at 11:59pm on 25 March, instituting a nationwide lockdown. All sports matches and events as well as non-essential services such as pools, bars, cafes, restaurants, playgrounds were required to close in 48 hours, while essential services such as supermarkets, petrol stations, and health services would remain open.[82][83][84]

On 24 March, the Government announced that Parliament would adjourn for five weeks beginning on 27 March.[85][86] Prior to its closure, Parliament passed three bills with cross-party support including:

  • the "Imprest Supply (Third for 2019/20) Bill", which invests $52 billion into emergency spending;[87][88]
  • the "COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill", which allows the Inland Revenue Department to remit interest on tax owing after 14 February;[89] and
  • "COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill", which allows local authorities to meet remotely, the Government to take over schools, and prevents no-cause evictions and freezes rents for six months.[89]

That same day, the Finance Minister announced that the Government was negotiating with banks to ensure that nobody would lose their homes as a result of defaulting on mortgage payments during the pandemic.[90] The Ministry of Social Development's Work and Income NZ division, which deals with welfare payments, switched from face-to-face services to online and phone services, and implemented shift work at its contact and processing centres to facilitate physical distancing.[91]

On 25 March, the Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard announced that Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges would chair a cross-party committee called the Epidemic Response Committee to scrutinise the Government's response to COVID-19.[85] Two-thirds of members will be from the opposition National and ACT parties while the remaining third will come from the governing Labour, New Zealand First, and Green parties. Known members include New Zealand First deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau, Greens Co-Leader Marama Davidson, and ACT Party leader David Seymour.[89][85][86] That same day, Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare declared a national state of emergency for seven days, that was to coincide with the country's entry into lockdown at 11:59 pm.[92]

On 26 March, Prime Minister Ardern announced that the Government would give $27 million to social service providers such as the Salvation Army and Women's Refuge to help the vulnerable cope with the lockdown.[93] Finance Minister Robertson also announced that the Government had paid $1.5 billion to more than 240,000 workers as part of its Wage Subsidy scheme in response to the pandemic.[94]

On 29 March the New Zealand Police launched a new online form on their website for people to report COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restriction breaches including isolation breaches and businesses operating illegally.[95][96]

On 31 March the Government extended the state of national emergency by seven days, which is separate from the four-week COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.[97] On 7 April, Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare extended the state of emergency by another seven days, until 14 April 2020.[98]

April 2020

On 8 April, Prime Minister Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the Government was introducing a $87.7 million distance learning package including two education television channels hosted by Suzy Cato, one English and the other Māori, improved Internet access and devices, and educational materials including online resources for parents, handheld devices, and hard copy packs of material for different year levels.[99]

Discussions continue on the possibility of using mobile phone apps to trace contacts (and thus track potential virus spread) – as (for example) in Singapore.[100] (As of 2015 New Zealand had 111.1 mobile connections per 100 citizens,[101] as opposed to Singapore's 150.1.[102][103] Population density and geography also differ.)

On 8 April, New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced providing $4 million worth of funds to help the government tackle the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19. It also stated plans of providing $1 million to the Tongan Ministry of Health to help it continue fighting the virus.[104]

On 14 April, the New Zealand Treasury released figures suggesting that the unemployment rate could be kept under 10% if the Government provided extra financial support to help society during the lockdown. Treasury also projected that the country could experience an unemployment rate of 13.5% if the country remains in lockdown for four weeks. Treasury also projected that the unemployment rate could rise between 17.5% and 26% (roughly 750,000) if the lockdown was extended beyond four weeks. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has vowed that the Government will keep the unemployment rate below 10%.[105][106] That same day, the Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare announced that the Government was extending New Zealand's national state of emergency for another seven days until 21 April.[107]

On 14 April, Prime Minister Ardern announced a $130 million support package for tertiary students including increasing the student loan amount for course-related costs for full-time students to $2,000 temporarily, continuing support payments for students unable to study online for up to eight weeks, and making sure that students whose studies have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic's eligibility for student loans and Fees Free study will not be affected.[108][109]

On 15 April, Prime Minister Ardern announced that all government ministers and public sector chief executives would take a 20 percent pay cut. Opposition Leader Simon Bridges has also confirmed that he will take a 20 percent pay cut.[110][111]

On 16 April, Prime Minister Ardern outlined the rules and guidelines for the Government's Alert Level 3. Key policies have included allowing people to swim and fish while banning boating; reopening early childhood; and schools up to Year 10 on a voluntary basis; easing work restrictions; allowing ten people to attend funerals, weddings, and tangi; and allowing food eateries to provide take away services.[112][113] In response, the New Zealand Principals' Federation has expressed concern that the Level 3 rules for schools would create confusion.[114][115]

On 20 April, Prime Minister Ardern extended New Zealand's Alert Level 4 by another week. Ardern justified the extension on the basis that New Zealand needed to "lock in the gains" made so far in the fight against the coronavirus. The Alert Level 4 will end at 11:59 pm on 27 April with the country entering into Alert Level 3 on 28 April for the duration of two weeks.[116][117] Ardern also announced that schools and early childhood centres can prepare to reopen on 29 April with 28 April being designated as a teachers' only day.[118]

On 23 April, Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi announced that the Government would be investing $50 million into media relief package to support the New Zealand media. This package includes $20.5m to eliminate TV and Radio transmission fees for six months; $16.5m to reduce media organisations' contribution fees to New Zealand On Air for the 2020/21 financial year; $11.1 million in specific targeted assistance to companies; $1.3 million to purchase central government news media subscriptions; and $600,000 to completely cut Radio New Zealand's AM transmission fees for six months. Faafoi also confirmed that the proposed Radio New Zealand and TVNZ merger had been delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic's economic fallout.[119][120]

May 2020

On 6 May, ahead of the announcement on 11 May about when the country would move down to Alert Level 2, Ardern gave information on how the country would function at Alert Level 2, with several changes from the original outline in March. The new Level 2 guidelines described "a safer version of normal", with the return of recreational activities and businesses with enforced physical distancing, hygiene and customer registration methods, and no more than 100 people per gathering.[121]

On 7 May, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced that professional sports would able to resume domestically under Alert Level 2 if the necessary public health measures were in place.[122][123]

On 11 May, it was announced that New Zealand would enter Alert Level 2 from 11:59 pm on 13 May, lifting lockdown restrictions while maintaining physical distancing in public and for private gatherings with more than ten people. Schools could reopen on Monday 18 May, while bars (defined as on-licence premises that primarily serve beverages) could reopen on 21 May. The decision of whether to increase the limit of a gathering without physical distancing from ten is set to be made on 25 May.[124][125]

On 13 May, the Government passed the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 which gives police and other "enforcement officers" the power to enter homes and other premises without a warrant in order to enforce the Alert Level 2 lockdown. The Bill was opposed by the opposition National and ACT parties, and the Human Rights Commission.[126][127] In addition, Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare lifted the national state of emergency. Health Minister David Clark announced changes to the Alert Level 2 rating, allowing up to 50 people to attend funerals and tangihanga.[127]

On 20 May, the Health Ministry launched a contact tracing app called NZ COVID Tracer, which is available on App Store and Google Play. The app allows users to scan their QR codes at businesses, public buildings and other organisations to track where they have been for contract tracing purposes.[128] While it was formally launched on 20 May, some people were able to download it on App Store on 19 May.[129] During its initial launch, several users encountered difficulties with logging into the app or using it.[130]

On 25 May, Prime Minister Ardern raised the limits on social gatherings including religious services, weddings, and funerals to 100, which came into effect at 12pm on 29 May 2020. Previously, there had been a ten-person limit on religious services and weddings, and a 50-person limit on funerals and tangihanga. Ardern also announced that Cabinet would consider a decision to move into Alert Level 1 on 8 June, with 22 June set as the tentative date for moving into Alert Level 1.[131][132][133] That same day, Finance Minister Grant Robertson introduced a new 12-week relief payment scheme for New Zealand citizens and residents, which comes into effect on 8 June. It will pay $490 per week for those who lost full-time work and $250 for part-time workers including students.[134][135]

On 29 May, Prime Minister Ardern announced that the Government would be giving the arts and culture sector a multi-million dollar boost in response to the economic impact of COVID-19. This includes $25 million for Creative New Zealand, $1.4m for the Antarctic Heritage Trust, $11.364m to Heritage New Zealand, $18m for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, $2 million for Te Papa's Hardship Fund, $31.8m for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision to preserve its audio and visual collection, $2.03m for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and $4 million for the $4m for the Waitangi National Trust Board.[136]

In May 2020, Grant Robertson announced $265 million to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on sports industry. The Minister of Finance said that the funding and revenue had drastically fallen for all sports organizations and that they were under “immense strain”. “We are providing the support needed to sports at all levels to remain viable, get stronger and adapt,” his post-budget statement said.[137]

June 2020

On 3 June, Prime Minister Ardern clarified that Alert Level 1 would involve the elimination of social distancing restrictions on shops, restaurants, public transportation and public gatherings including religious services, funerals, weddings, and community sports events. However, event organisers would have to ensure contact tracing. Ardern also outlined the ten "golden rules" for Alert Level 1:

  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • If you have cold or flu-like symptoms get tested.
  • Wash your hands, Wash your hands, Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  • If you are told by health authorities to self isolate you must do so immediately.
  • If concerned about your wellbeing or you have underlying health conditions consult with your GP.
  • Keep track of where you've been and who you've seen so we can use that for contact tracing if needed.
  • Businesses should help with rule seven by displaying a QR code.
  • Stay vigilant
  • Be kind to others and yourself.[138][139]

That same day, the opposition National Party claimed that a leaked cabinet paper suggested that New Zealand could move into Alert Level 1 straight away. The Government contended that the paper represented "one strand of decision making" and that any move into Alert Level 1 was "predicated upon having eliminated chains of transmission and there having been no new cases from community transmission for at least 28 days."[140]

On 8 June, Prime Minister Ardern announced that New Zealand would be entering into Alert Level 1 at midnight on 9 June after it was reported that the country's last remaining active case had recovered. Under Alert Level 1, there will be no restrictions on daily life, business activities, mass gatherings, and public transportation. However, the country's borders would remain closed to most international travel.[141][142]

On 9 June, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced that people quarantined at the border would no longer be able to apply for an exemption to attend funerals and tangihanga. Instead, people who had been quarantined would be allowed to apply for an exemption to gather with a small group of loved ones to mourn. Previously, the Health Ministry had allowed 142 people in mandatory quarantine to attend funerals and tangihanga.[143]

On 16 June, Health Minister David Clark suspended compassionate exemptions for travellers after two women who had visited the country in June to attend a funeral tested positive for COVID-19. The suspension remains in force until the Government is satisfied with the Health Ministry's procedures.[144][145]

On 17 June, Prime Minister Ardern announced that the New Zealand Defence Force's Assistant Chief of Defence Air commodore Darryn Webb would oversee the country's border and quarantine isolation facilities in response to the recent outbreak reported on 16 June.[146][147] On 18 June, Director-General of Health Bloomfield announced that all travelers on trans-Tasman flights will be required to wear face masks in response to the three recent cases resulting from overseas travel.[148]

On 19 June, Housing Minister Megan Woods was given joint responsibility with Air Commodore Darryn Webb for overseeing isolation and quarantine facilities for travellers entering New Zealand.[149][150]

On 22 June, Prime Minister Ardern announced that the Government would be amending its health order to require people to test negative for COVID-19 before leaving quarantine. The Government also extended the ban on cruise ships beyond 30 June. While exceptions will be made for cargo ships and fishing vessels, any ship crew arriving in New Zealand would need to spend 14 days in quarantine if they had not been on the vessel for 28 days prior to docking.[151]

On 23 June, Woods indicated that the Government was considering getting returnees to pay part of the costs of the managed isolation and quarantine process due to rising costs.[152] That same day, Health Minister David Clark announced that border staff, air crew, and quarantine workers would receive priority for COVID-19 testing.[153]

On 24 June, Health Minister David Clark and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield admitted that 51 of the 55 people who had left managed isolation early on compassionate leave had not been tested for COVID-19. Of the 55 granted compassionate leave, 39 had tested negative while seven won't be tested for medical reasons or were children. One was wrongly counted because their leave application was withdrawn. Of the remaining eight, four are awaiting test results while four have not yet been tested. Opposition leader Todd Muller described the Health Ministry's procedural lapse as a "national disgrace."[154][155]

On 27 June, the Health Ministry acknowledged that 2,159 people had left managed isolation facilities between 9 and 16 June. Of these, 1,288 had tested negative for COVID-19 and that a further 367 were awaiting testing. The Ministry also acknowledged that it was still trying to contact 427 people who had left managed isolation. 137 people were not eligible for testing for various reasons including being a child under six months, being part of repositioning crew, and currently being overseas. 79 people have refused to be tested.[156]

On 29 June, Health Minister David Clark announced that it was investing $150 million in personal protective equipment from their $50 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund unveiled in the 2020 New Zealand budget. In addition, returnees in isolation facilities are also required to wear face masks.[157]

July 2020

On 2 July, Health Minister David Clark resigned from his portfolio following criticism over his leadership and actions during the pandemic. He stated that he "was becoming a distraction in the Government's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand and health reforms."[158][159] Prime Minister Ardern appointed Chris Hipkins as interim Health Minister until the 2020 New Zealand general election, which at that time was scheduled for 19 September.[160][161] Megan Woods took on responsibility for Border Management (Covid response and Quarantine).[162]

On 7 July, the Government asked Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines to manage international bookings to New Zealand over the next three weeks to ensure that quarantine facilities are not overwhelmed by the volume of returnees. Air New Zealand said that 5,500 people were booked to travel back to New Zealand with the airline over the next three weeks.[163]

On 15 July, Ardern released the Government's COVID-19 response framework, which would involve localised lockdowns in the event there was another community-wide outbreak of COVID-19. The framework is based on similar localised lockdown policies in Victoria, New South Wales, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea.[164][165]

On 21 July, Health Minister Hipkins announced that the Government would be investing $302 million into health services, including $150 million over two years for Pharmac, $30 million into the National Close Contact Service, $23 million into a National Immunisation Solution, $35 million for more ventilators and respiratory equipment, $50 million for personal protective equipment supplies, and $14.6 million for telehealth services.[166]

On 29 July, Housing Minister Megan Woods announced that some travellers entering New Zealand would have to pay for their 14-day stay in managed isolation. The isolation stays will cost $3,100 ($2,050) for the first adult in each hotel room, $950 for each additional adult and $475 for each child sharing the room. Travellers affected by the new ruling include New Zealanders who have left the country after the rules came into effect, those who intend to stay in New Zealand for less than 90 days, and most temporary visa holders with the exception of family members of citizens who were not liable, diplomats, or those here for the Christchurch mosque trial. However, New Zealanders returning home permanently will be exempt from these charges.[167][168]

August 2020

On 9 August, The Ministry of Health confirmed that New Zealand had gone 100 days with no known community spread of COVID-19.[169][170]

On 11 August, four cases of community transmission were discovered in Auckland. They were all from the same family, who had no link to overseas travel or quarantine measures in the country. Prime Minister Ardern announced that the entire Auckland Region would move back up to Alert Level 3 from 12:00 on 12 August until 23:59 on 14 August. The rest of the country would move up to Alert Level 2 for the same period.[2][3][4] On 14 August, Ardern announced that the lockdown settings would be extended by 12 days until 11:59 pm on 26 August,[171][172] and that the Government would be extending the wage subsidy scheme to support businesses and protect jobs in response to the new outbreak.[171][173]

On 16 August, Health Minister Chris Hipkins issued a statement condemning the use of social media to spread personal attacks on the family at the centre of the recent community transmissions and conspiracy theories around COVID-19. He urged New Zealanders to be supportive of those being tested, saying, "People are not the problem here, the virus is the problem. People are the solution."[174]

On 17 August, Ardern, following consultation with other political parties and the Electoral Commission, rescheduled the general election from 19 September to 17 October 2020 due to the recent outbreaks.[175] In addition, the New Zealand Parliament's dissolution was delayed until 6 September.[176]

On 19 August, it became compulsory for all businesses to display the Government's NZ COVID Tracer QR codes at their doors or reception areas. By 18 August, more than 234,000 QR posters had been generated.[177] That same day, Ardern announced the deployment of 500 soldiers to replace private security guards at quarantine facilities and border areas. This would take the number of New Zealand Defence Force personnel supporting New Zealand's COVID-19 response to 1,200, making it the largest deployment force since New Zealand's peacekeeping deployment in Timor Leste during the early 2000s.[178]

On 20 August, Hipkins issued a statement reassuring the Māori and Pacific Islander communities that the Ministry for Children (Oranga Tamariki) was not taking children away from people who tested positive for COVID-19 in response to rumours circulating among the community and social media.[179]

On 24 August, Ardern announced that Auckland would remain under a Level 3 lockdown until 11:59 pm on 30 August, when the city would move to Level 2 restrictions. In addition, public gatherings in Auckland would be limited to ten people while a 50-person limit would be in place for funerals and weddings. The rest of New Zealand would remain on a Level 2 restrictions until at least 6 September. It will be compulsory for people using public transport to wear face masks while the alert level is 2 or higher.[180][181]

On 26 August, Hipkins announced that it would be compulsory for all public transport providers including buses, trains, ferries, ride-share vehicles and train operators to provide Covid Tracer QR codes for passengers from 11:59 pm on 3 September.[182] On 27 August, he announced that the Government would be distributing three million masks nationally. He also clarified that it would be compulsory for everyone aged 12 and over to wear face masks on flights and on public transport. However, masks are not be required on exemptions will be granted for health, disability, and practicality reasons, and are not required on school buses or on Cook Strait ferry services. Violators face a $300 infringement notice or a court-imposed fine of up to $1,000.[183]

On 30 August, Prime Minister Ardern confirmed that Auckland would enter into "Alert Level 2.5" from 11:59pm on Sunday night while the rest of the country would remain on Level 2. Under Level 2.5, all social gatherings including birthday parties will be limited to ten people; masks will be mandatory for all Aucklanders using public transportation; and aged care facilities will be operating under strict conditions. The only public gatherings allowed in Auckland are funerals and tangihanga, which will be limited to 50 people.[5][6] That same day, the Prime Minister apologised after a post on the Government's "Unite against COVID-19" Facebook page called on all people living in southern and western Auckland to get tested.[184]

September 2020

On 4 September, Prime Minister Ardern announced that New Zealand would remain on Alert Level 2 while Auckland would remain on Alert Level 2.5 for at least ten more days. The New Zealand Cabinet would review them again on 14 September, when they would decide whether to adjust them at 11.59 pm on 16 September.[185] That same day, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi extended the visas of visitors due to expire before the end of October by five months. In addition, temporary migrants unable to leave due to international travel restrictions were granted a new two-month COVID-19 short-term visa.[186]

On 6 September, the Government introduced a new order requiring all border workers to undergo testing for COVID-19, which came into effect at midnight on 7 September.[187]

On 14 September, the Government extended the Alert Level 2.5 rating in Auckland and the Level 2 rating in the rest of the country by one week. Prime Minister Ardern indicated that the Government would consider easing restrictions the following week. While the Government's decision was supported by Cabinet, New Zealand First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters disagreed with the extension of lockdown restrictions and invoked the "Agree to Disagree" provision. In addition, the Government relaxed social distancing restrictions on public transportation including buses and planes.[188]

On 21 September, Prime Minister Ardern announced that Auckland would move into Alert Level 2 on 23 September at 11:59pm while the rest of New Zealand would move into Alert Level 1 on 21 September at 11:59pm. Under Auckland's Alert Level 2 status, public gatherings of 100 people were allowed but a 50-person cap remained on funerals and tangihanga.[8][9]

October 2020

On 2 October, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australia had formalised a deal allowing New Zealanders "one-way quarantine-free travel" into New South Wales and the Northern Territory from 16 October as part of steps to establish a trans-Tasman "travel bubble" between the two countries. However, Prime Minister Ardern ruled out facilitating "quarantine-free travel" for Australians in order to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19, having resisted calls to do so from the opposition National Party. National Party leader Judith Collins stated that the travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for Australians would hurt the New Zealand tourism industry.[189][190]

On 5 October, Prime Minister Ardern announced that Auckland would shift to Alert Level 1 at 11:59 pm on 7 October, bringing the region in line with the rest of the country. Under Level 1, restrictions on social gatherings were eliminated while wearing masks on public transportation was no longer be compulsory but encouraged.[191][192]

On 28 October, Newsroom journalist Marc Daalder reported that Cabinet had been aware of the lack of capacity for testing staff working at managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities, airports, and ports prior to the August outbreak. Health authorities were still preparing the country's national testing strategy.[193]

November 2020

From 3 November, New Zealand returnees will not be able to board flights to New Zealand without having pre-booked hotel vouchers for staying at a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility. 1 News reported that 30,000 people have already pre-booked their isolation stay over the next three months, with the Christmas holiday season completely booked out.[194] That same day, Prime Minister Ardern ruled out raising Christchurch's alert level following the detection of a new community transmission linked to a managed isolation facility hosting Russian and Ukrainian fishermen, stating that the Government's systems were adequate.[195]

On 13 November, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed that Auckland would remain at Alert Level 1 and that Auckland's CBD would reopen after a recent community transmission was genomically linked to a Defence Force worker who had been infected in a quarantine hospital. Hipkins also announced that he would seek Cabinet's permission to make it compulsory to wear masks on Auckland public transportation as well as flights in and out of the city.[196]

On 16 November, Prime Minister Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Hipkins announced that face masks will be mandatory on public transportation in Auckland and on all domestic flights from 19 November.[197]

On 26 November, the Government announced in its Speech from the Throne that the COVID-19 vaccine would be free as part of its goal of keeping New Zealanders safe from COVID-19.[198]

Economic recovery planning

On 1 April the Government set up an Infrastructure Industry Reference Group to seek out 'shovel-ready' infrastructure projects to reduce the economic impact of COVID-19.[199] Local government responded with proposals over the following weeks.[200][201][202][203] Other groups, such as the construction industry,[204] Greenpeace,[205] and the Green Party also put forward their preferences.[206]

On 1 May, the New Zealand Parliament unanimously passed a $23 billion omnibus tax support package. Its provisions include a $3 billion tax relief package for businesses, $25 million for further business support in 2021, a $NZ10 billion wage subsidy scheme, $4.27 billion to support 160,000 small businesses, and $1.3 billion for 8,900 medium-sized businesses.[207][208]

Local and regional governmental responses

On 20 March, the Auckland Council closed all public libraries, swimming pools, and recreational centres, including the Auckland Art Gallery and the New Zealand Maritime Museum.[209][210]

On 21 March, several local body councils in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Lower Hutt and Porirua announced the closures of public facilities including swimming pools, libraries, recreation centres, community centres, art galleries, and museums.[211][212][213][214]

On 24 March, the Auckland Council announced they were closing their campgrounds and Environment Canterbury announced that they would also close New Zealand Motor Caravan Association camping grounds within 48 hours.[90]

Auckland Council announced on 14 April that it was applying for special project funding for a number of infrastructure projects that had been suspended due to lockdown.[215]

On 15 April, several Otago mayors including mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins, Central Otago District mayor Tim Cadogan, Queenstown Lakes District mayor Jim Boult, Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan, Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher and Otago Regional Council chair Marian Hobbs were donating part of their salaries to local charities to assist with coronavirus pandemic relief efforts. In addition, several Dunedin City Council officials including chief executive Sue Bidrose announced that they were taking pay cuts to help their local communities cope with the effects of COVID-19.[216]

On 10 July, the Auckland Council announced that it was going to eliminate 500 permanent jobs as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[217]

On 27 August, Auckland councillor Efeso Collins called for the Government to grant an amnesty to people who had overstayed their visas in order to encourage members of the Pasifika community to come forward for COVID-19 tests. The Health Minister Chris Hipkins has reassured the Pasifika community that the Government would not use any information collected during testing for immigration purposes. Collins urged Pacific community leaders, church leaders and health professionals to encourage overstayers to get tested for COVID-19 without fear of repercussions.[218]

On 12 November, Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff and local health authorities have urged people in the Auckland CBD area to work from home after the discovery of a community transmission case who worked at the A-Z Collections shop on Auckland's High St in the city centre. Goff also criticised the store's owner for allegedly telling the employee to come to work while she was awaiting test results for her COVID-19 test. The store owner disputed Goff's account, explaining that the employee had called on Tuesday to say say she had a sore throat and would be visiting a doctor.[219][220] The following day, the shop worker issued a statement criticising health officials who interviewed her for not providing a Chinese language translator, causing misinformation about her prior whereabouts, actions, and contacts. As a result of this miscommunication, her employer and their families had received abusive online messages.[221][222]

Repatriation flights and border control

New Zealand citizens and residents

In early February 2020, eleven New Zealanders were reported to be on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess,[223] which had been quarantined by Japanese authorities in Yokohama after passengers were confirmed to have COVID-19.[224] By 20 February, four New Zealand passengers had tested positive for the virus and were being treated in Japan. The remaining six passengers returned to New Zealand via an evacuation flight being organised by the Australian government. Upon arriving in Auckland, they were quarantined at a military facility at Whangaparaoa.[225]

In February 2020, the New Zealand Government used a chartered Air New Zealand flight to evacuate 193 passengers from Wuhan, China, including 54 New Zealand citizens, 44 permanent residents, 35 Australians, and several Pacific Islands nationals. 35 Australian passengers were transferred to an Australian flight, while the remaining 157 passengers were quarantined in a military facility at Whangaparaoa for 14 days. The passengers were released on 19 February.[58][226]

On 17 March, Newshub reported that the Australian Border Force had suspended the repatriation of New Zealand deportees between 16 and 30 March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.[227]

On 19 March, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced that the New Zealand Government was considering more mercy flights to evacuate New Zealanders stranded overseas in response to the spread of the pandemic to Europe, North America and other international locations.[228][229] On 24 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged New Zealanders abroad to return home with while recognising that many will not be able to return home due to the disruption of international travel. Peters urged New Zealanders stranded overseas to considering sheltering "in place". He estimated there were 80,000 New Zealanders stranded overseas, of whom 17,000 had registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's "Safe Travel" programme.[230]

On 28 March, it was reported that about 24 New Zealanders were stranded in Peru because they could not board a chartered Australian flight due to changes in Australian transit rules requiring overseas travellers to transit on the same day as their arrival.[231][232]

On 29 March 108 New Zealanders were allowed to disembark from the cruiser liner Vasco Da Gama, which had been berthed at Fremantle, Western Australia, for two weeks. Following the cancellation of the cruise, the passengers had been stranded aboard the cruise ship for two weeks. The passengers were repatriated to Auckland on an Air New Zealand flight.[233]

On 30 March, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced, following negotiations with Prime Minister Ardern, that New Zealanders in Australia, who held a Special Category Visa, would be eligible for AU$1,500 fortnightly payments as hardship assistance. Many New Zealanders had been forced to return after being unable to access Australian Centrelink payments.[234]

On 6 April 2020, Peters announced that the Government had organised a mercy flight to rescue New Zealanders stranded in Peru. The flight will depart from Lima, with an added domestic connection in Cusco. Private tour operators Viva Expeditions and Chimu Adventures will also help transport New Zealanders to the appropriate pickup points. New Zealand authorities have also managed to gain permission from Chilean authorities to transit through Santiago. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, there are 22,000 New Zealanders stranded overseas who have registered with MFAT's Safe Travel.[235][236]

On 10 April, the Uruguay government announced that it would be repatriating 16 New Zealanders and 96 Australians who had been stranded aboard the Antarctic cruise ship Greg Mortimer in the La Plata river near Montevideo since 27 March. The passengers would be flown from Montevideo to Melbourne.[237][238] On 12 April, the mercy flight carrying 16 New Zealanders landed in Melbourne. Thirteen of the New Zealanders boarded a New Zealand Government-chartered flight to Auckland while three New Zealanders, who were resident in Australia, stayed behind.[239]

On 15 April, a Government-chartered LATAM Airlines flight carrying New Zealanders who were stranded in Peru arrived back in Auckland. Other passengers who had been scattered in Brazil and Chile were able to board when the flight transited through Santiago. Passengers were to be quarantined in Auckland per new quarantine requirements.[240][241] The mercy flight carried 60 Australians and three New Zealanders. One New Zealand woman elected to stay behind with her Peruvian husband after he failed to meet Immigration New Zealand's partnership visa requirements.[242] On 21 April, it was reported that a 49-year-old man, who was meant to be on the Peruvian mercy flight, had died in Cusco from COVID-19, making him the first New Zealander recorded to have died from it overseas.[243]

On 15 April, it was announced that Fiji Airways would be flying stranded New Zealanders from Fiji to Auckland on 17 April. The return flight would leave the same day, carrying Fijians back to Nadi.[241]

On 13 April, Peters announced that the New Zealand Government was in discussions with airlines and international partners to bring New Zealanders stranded in India back to New Zealand.[244] On 21 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the Government was repatriating 1,600 New Zealanders from India to managed isolation in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.[245]

On 21 June, it was reported that 4,272 people who had returned from overseas travel were being housed in 20 managed isolation facilities across New Zealand, including 18 in Auckland and Christchurch and two in Rotorua. These facilities are being run by the National Emergency Management Agency. Several returnees complained about lack of communication from ministry officials about their quarantine destinations, including several who had been transferred from Auckland to Rotorua without any prior notice. On 21 June 232 people had returned from Australia and entered into quarantine.[246] That same day, it was reported that a man who had returned from the United Kingdom had been trapped in limbo at Grand Mercure Hotel in Auckland after health authorities lost his COVID-19 test.[247]

On 12 July, it was reported that the Government would be establishing a special isolation facility for returning New Zealanders who had been deported from Australia after the Australian Government resumed its deportation policy in late June 2020. According to 1 News, 19 New Zealanders are scheduled to return from various Australian detention detentions in the coming week via a chartered flight.[248] By 28, July at least 30 deportees had arrived from Australia on two chartered flights in July. They were quarantined for 14 days at the Ramada hotel in Auckland.[249]

In September, Sehion Tours and Travels has organised several chartered flights from southern India to Auckland using a Singapore Airlines A350-900. Besides transporting New Zealand citizens and residents, the company is also repatriating Indian nationals who want to return to India.[250]

Foreign travellers and temporary visa holders

On 24 March, the New Zealand Government automatically extended all temporary visas with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who were in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 until 25 September 2020. Travellers whose visas expire before 1 April are allowed to remain if they are unable to leave the country.[230] On 25 March 2020, the British and German governments announced that they will be sending mercy flights to repatriate stranded citizens in New Zealand, many of whom are tourists. The German government has made arrangements for sending mercy flights to Auckland and Christchurch. The British Government has made arrangements for British nationals to transit through Singapore during their return from New Zealand.[251] There have been reports of British travellers being charged high airfares by airlines. The British High Commission and consular services in Wellington have been criticised for closing their operations the previous week.[252][253]

On 31 March, Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Kamaruddin Jaffar stated that 153 Malaysians with return tickets were stranded in New Zealand but unable to return to Malaysia due to travel restrictions and disruption caused by the pandemic.[254]

In early April, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, following communications with foreign governments including Denmark,[255] announced that foreign nationals returning home would be classified as engaging in essential travel able to travel domestically (whether by air or land) when they have a confirmed and scheduled international flight out of New Zealand, subject to Government requirements. In addition, foreign governments would be allowed to evacuate their citizens in charter flights provided they satisfied New Zealand health requirements. To improve travel between New Zealand and Europe, the Government has also approved a second daily flight between Doha to Auckland by Qatar Airways.[256][257]

As of 10 April, German airliner Lufthansa has flown 16 repatriation flights from Auckland International Airport to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, evacuating 6,700 passengers.[258] On 14 April, it was reported that Qatar Airways would be flying a Boeing 777-300 via Perth to pick up stranded French nationals in Christchurch before returning to Paris.[259]

On 13 May, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters urged migrant workers who were out of work to go home, stating that New Zealand taxpayers could not afford to support them. Peters confirmed that 50,000 migrant workers had already returned to their home countries after the New Zealand Government made arrangements with embassies to organise repatriation flights for their nationals. According to a declassified official document, there were over 383,000 foreign nationals in New Zealand including students, migrant workers, and partners or dependents of workers as of 30 March.[260][261]

According to a 1 News report on 17 May, there are over 1,000 Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme workers in New Zealand, mostly from the Pacific Islands. Pacific Response Coordination Team chairman Pakilau Manase Lua has stated that about 1,000 Tongan seasonal workers in NZ are facing financial difficulty due to the loss of work caused by the economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[262]

On 3 June, Radio New Zealand reported that half of the Government's $30 million emergency welfare fund had been spent over a month, with many of the recipients including stranded migrant workers and foreigners who were unable to return to their countries due to the disruption of international travel. Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act, financial assistance for food, transport, clothing and accommodation is available to anyone regardless of their citizenship. Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare has confirmed that there have been 4,500 requests for emergency assistance from the Otago region with an unknown number from the Auckland Region. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has stated that the "labour market test" will be applied on foreign workers once their work visas have expired.[263]

On 7 July, the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway extended 16,500 Essential Skills and Work to Residence workers with visas by six months and extended the 12-month stand-down period for migrant workers who were going to leave in 2020 until February 2021. This stand-down period shift would benefit about 600 lower-skilled visa holders including dairy workers.[264]

On 10 July, the Government announced that overseas-based victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings would be granted special border passes and financial help in order to travel to New Zealand for the duration of the gunman's sentencing, which begins on 24 August.[265]

On 22 July, Radio New Zealand reported that a six year old Korean child had been unable to attend school since his father, a temporary visa holder, was unable to return to New Zealand due to lockdown travel restrictions. Under New Zealand law, international students under the age of ten are unable to attend schools without the presence of a parent or guardian. Despite lobbying by National MP Melissa Lee on behalf of the family, Education Minister Chris Hipkins declined to intervene, citing policy issues.[266]

On 9 September, the Government announced that it would be increasing the number of categories of non-citizens and non-residents eligible for the new border exception. These include those holding a job or operating a business in New Zealand; holding a work to residence or essential skills visa, have departed New Zealand on or after 1 December 2019; and have lived in New Zealand for at least two years with a residence or work visa. Partners who are Australian citizens or from visa-waiver countries will also be eligible to apply for border exceptions. In addition, those who have been unable to enter the country to activate their residency visa or unable to return before their residency visa expires will receive a reprieve.[267]

By 12 October, it was reported that 10,400 individuals had been granted exemptions for critical and essential work to enter New Zealand.[268]

On 13 November, it was reported that Prime Minister Ardern had granted a business exemption for a British family to enter New Zealand following the death of their son Eddie in French Polynesia in April 2020. The family had initially been denied entry into New Zealand but the Prime Minister had sought a review of the case after the Weekend Herald reported on the family's situation on 10 October.[269]

Health sector responses

On 19 March, the medical recruitment company MedWorld appealed for retired and part-time doctors to assist efforts by the health sector and Government to combat the spread of COVID-19.[270][271]

On 10 June, St John New Zealand, which provides ambulance and first aid services, announced that it would be laying off staff due to a $30 million deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[272] The organisation had also tried to apply for the Government's wage subsidy scheme but was told that it was not eligible for it despite a 40% drop in income.[273]

On 27 August, Pasifika GP Network member Dr Api Talemaitoga announced that the Government's Testing Strategy Group would seek to ensure that members of the Māori and Pasifika communities would have fair access to testing. These measures include offering free testing, mobile testing centers and clinicians who could translate. Health authorities have also sought to reassure members of these communities that they would not lose their jobs due to contracting COVID-19.[218]

Business sector responses

Up until March 2020, New Zealand ran a mixed economy – a free market with some state ownership and control.[274] Although somewhat abruptly sidelined from their normal influence within the New Zealand economy, representatives of the business sector continued to feature in media reporting: lobbying against perceived discrepancies in various industries,[275] publicising habitual evaluations such as business-confidence indicators[276][277] and economic outlooks,[278] and itching for an early return to "business as usual".[279]

On 17 September 2020, New Zealand economy officially entered into a recession, with the country's gross domestic product contracting by 12.2% in the June quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The retail, accommodation, hospitality, and transportation sectors were adversely affected by the international travel ban and a strict nationwide lockdown.[280][281][282]

Agriculture

On 31 March 2020, NZ Pork CEO David Baines warned that the Government's decision to classify butcheries as non-essential services would have serious implications for the welfare pigs on New Zealand farms. Due to a surplus in pigs, many farms lacked sufficient space to store pigs.[283][284]

On 22 August, it was reported that about 2.5 million bees had starved to death after workers from Waikato were unable to travel to Auckland to access beehives due to checkpoints imposed following a surge in community transmissions in Auckland. Businesses affected include Waitakaruru Honey Limited. Apiculture New Zealand had applied to the Ministry of Health for an exemption on behalf of commercial bee keepers.[285]

In October and November 2020, the horticultural and viticultural industries reported a shortage of workers since the Government's border restrictions and managed isolation requirements prevented tourists and seasonal workers from entering the country. Under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, horticultural and viticultural producers are normally allowed to recruit seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands and selected Asian countries. In addition, tourists from certain countries are allowed to work on a visitor visa. This labour shortage has caused fruits and crops to rot. Local growers have reported difficulty in recruiting locals due to the long hours, hard, outdoor work, lower wages, and them lacking the specialised picking and plant-care skills that foreign workers.[286][287][288][289]

In mid–October 2020 Richard Palmer, the CEO of the producer representative body Summerfruit New Zealand, warned that the horticulture might not be able to pick up 30% of its harvest that year, a shortfall that could cost NZ$1.25 billion in export earnings.[290] In late October 2020, Horticulture NZ and the New Zealand Apples and Pears Inc launched a jobs service called Pick Tiki to recruit urban young people into fruit-picking jobs in Hawke's Bay, Nelson, and Central Otago.[289]

Aviation

On 16 March, the national carrier Air New Zealand announced that it would be reducing its long-haul capacity by 85% and its personnel by 30% in response to declining demand and revenue as a result of the outbreak. In addition to the previously suspended flights to Shanghai and Seoul, the airline suspended flights to several major international cities including San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo, Honolulu, Denpasar, and Taipei between 30 March and 30 June as well as its London HeathrowLos Angeles service. The airline also reduced trans-Tasman capacity by 80%, and the domestic network capacity would be reduced in March and April 2020. It would maintain enough overseas flights for returning New Zealanders and evacuees as well as essential air freight.[291][292][293] On 20 March, the Government loaned Air New Zealand $900 million to protect essential air routes and to keep the company operating.[294][295]

On 19 March, it was reported that Qantas and Jetstar were suspending their New Zealand operations as part of their efforts to suspend international flights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[296]

On 25 March, Air New Zealand's chief revenue officer announced the airline would cut back to just ten international and fifth-freedom routes from 30 March to 1 May: from Auckland to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Rarotonga, Nadi, Niue, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, and from Norfolk Island to Sydney and Brisbane. The Auckland to Shanghai route would resume on 2 May.[297]

On 4 April, it became known that Virgin Australia had decided to shut down its New Zealand operation permanently, resulting in 600 jobs in New Zealand to be lost.[298]

On 7 April, it was reported that Air New Zealand was considering laying off 387 pilots as part of cutback measures. The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA), which represents 1520 Air New Zealand pilots, is currently in negotiations with the airline to reduce the number of layoffs.[299]

On 20 May, Air New Zealand announced that it would be laying off 3,500 personnel.[300] This includes 1,300 cabin crew. 950 long and mid-haul crew will lose their jobs while 300 workers will be made redundant in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. In addition, 97 jobs were lost at Air NZ's regional airlines Air Nelson and Mount Cook Airline.[301]

In early June, Singapore Airlines announced that it would resume passenger flights to Auckland and Christchurch on a weekly basis.[302] On 10 June, it was reported that Singapore Airlines staff were being quarantined in hotel rooms for the duration of their three-day stay.[303] In mid-June, Air New Zealand announced that it would be resuming flights between Auckland and Shanghai from 22 June.[304]

On 5 July, Air New Zealand attracted criticism after it removed 11 passengers from an overcrowded flight to Brisbane and erroneously told them that they would have to pay for their accommodation, meals and other quarantine costs until the next flight was ready to depart on Tuesday. Police were called to mediate between airline staff and passengers. Air New Zealand subsequently apologised for providing the passengers with incorrect information.[305]

On 3 August, Auckland International Airport announced that it would be splitting its international terminal into separate zones for travellers from "safe travel hubs" and "health management" areas in anticipation for the establishment of a safe air corridor between New Zealand and the Cook Islands.[306]

On 12 August, following several recent community transmissions, it was announced that all passengers leaving Auckland Airport would be issued with masks while passengers entering Auckland would be required to wear masks. Access to Auckland Airport would be limited to those with valid tickets, travel itineraries and traveling overseas. Social distancing would also be re-introduced at airports across the country.[307]

On 15 August, Jetstar suspended its domestic operations in New Zealand after the Government implemented social distancing rules following a second outbreak in Auckland that month.[308]

On 14 September, Jetstar announced that it was resuming domestic flights in New Zealand after Prime Minister Ardern announced that physical distancing on aircraft was no longer required. The airline had suspended its domestic services in New Zealand four weeks earlier following an outbreak in Auckland in mid-August 2020.[309]

Cafes and restaurants

On 14 April, it was reported that three parent shareholding companies of the Burger King franchise in New Zealand had gone into receivership, with KordaMentha appointed as receiver. It was hoped that Burger King would start trading again post-lockdown as its operating company was not in receivership.[310]

Camping grounds

On 24 March, two local authorities and the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association announced that they were closing their camping grounds.[90]

Casinos

On 11 May, Skycity announced that it will be slashing 700 jobs as a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic. In April, the company had slashed 200 jobs.[311][312]

Construction sector

On 28 April 2020, it became known that steel company Steel & Tube would lose between 150 and 200 jobs in upcoming restructuring.[313]

On 20 May, building company Fletcher Building announced that they would be laying off at least 1,000 jobs in New Zealand and 500 jobs in Australia, amounting to ten percent of their workforce.[314][315] On 11 August, it was reported that Fletcher Building was expecting a loss of NZ$196 million for the year to June 2020 due to the pandemic.[316]

Film industry

On 17 March, Jon Landau, the co-producer of the Avatar film sequels, announced that film production at the Wellington-based Stone Street Studios had been suspended in response to the pandemic.[317] However, visual effects will continue at Weta Digital in Wellington.[318] On 31 May 50 Avatar crew including Hollywood director James Cameron were granted entry into New Zealand under a special visa category for border exemptions for foreigners deemed essential to a project of "significant economic value."[319]

Financial services

On 1 July, ASB Bank announced that they were closing nine branches in the major centres and that 25 branches will be moving to three day weeks due to a shift in demand for online services. Branches that will be closing are at Auckland Hospital, Parnell, Ronwood Avenue in Manukau City, Ellerslie and Mount Albert in Auckland, Waikato University in Hamilton, Papamoa in Bay of Plenty, Barrington in Christchurch and Mosgiel in Otago.[320][321] The company will also hire 150 additional staff to provide specialist online support.[321]

On 19 November, the Bank of New Zealand announced that it was closing 38 branches over the next seven months as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[322]

Funeral services

Funeral directors have warned about a spike in violence as a result of people being unable to attend funerals for their loved ones during the Level 4 and Level 3 restrictions.[323]

Maritime sector

In early June, marine engineering company Airmex's managing director Steve Sullivan has warned that about 40 jobs maritime engineering jobs in Nelson are at risk due to the Government's policy of refusing entry to ships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sullivan, 40% of the company's revenue came from the international refit business. National MP Nick Smith has also called on the Government to lift the blanket ban on foreign ships, citing the case of the American Samoa–registered tuna fishing vessel Captain Vincent Gann, which was denied entry by Immigration New Zealand and asked to seek urgent repairs in Hawaii.[324][325]

Media

On 30 March 2020 NZME, which owns The New Zealand Herald and radio station Newstalk ZB, announced the closure of Radio Sport with immediate effect, due to the impact of the coronavirus on sport.[326]

On 1 April, Mediaworks' Chief Executive Michael Anderson told staff to take a 15% wage cut in order to avoid redundancies.[327]

On 2 April, Bauer Media Group announced that it would wind up its New Zealand magazine titles in direct response to magazines having been stopped from being published under the Level 4 restrictions. This will put an end to many iconic titles, including Woman's Day, New Zealand Woman's Weekly, the New Zealand Listener, The Australian Women's Weekly, North & South, Next, Metro, Air New Zealand's inflight magazine Kia Ora, and Your Home & Garden, leaving about 200 former employees unemployed.[328][329][330][331]

On 14 April, NZME announced that they were laying off 15% of their workforce (roughly 200 jobs) as a result of the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus.[332][333]

On 16 April, Stuff Chief Executive Sinead Boucher asked staff earning more than $50,000 to take a 15% pay cut while the executive team will take a 25% pay cut. Boucher herself will take a 40% pay cut.[334]

On 25 May, MediaWorks' CEO Michael Anderson announced that the company would be eliminating 130 jobs in its sales, out-of-home, and radio divisions as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[335][336][337]

On 12 June, it was reported that national broadcaster TVNZ was planning to cut 100 jobs over the next few weeks in order to save $10 million and that the company was looking for a new head of news to replace John Gillespie.[338]

Rest homes

On 12 August 2020, Aged Care Association chief executive Simon Wallace announced that all rest homes in New Zealand would go into full lockdown immediately until midnight Friday (14 August) in response to a recent wave of community transmissions.[339]

Retail sector

On 25 March 2020, The Warehouse Group prematurely announced that they were an "essential service" without consulting with the Government. When they were deemed not to be an essential service, the Warehouse shut down its brands including The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Torpedo7, Noel Leeming, 1-day and TheMarket for the duration of the four-week lockdown, with all staff being put on full paid leave. The company also faces a fine of $500,000 if it is found to have breached the New Zealand Exchange's disclosure rules with more penalties if the company is found to have profited from a rise in its share price resulting from the announcement.[340][341][342]

On 27 March, the national retail chain Mad Butcher was ordered to shut operations since it did not meet the Government's criteria of essential services. Mad-Butcher chief executive Michael Morton expressed frustration with a lack of clarity from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The company is projected to lose $3 million in meat.[343]

On 10 April, hardware giant Mitre 10 announced that it would lay off staff at its Albany support centre in Auckland. While the company's Mitre 10 and Mitre 10 Mega stores are closed, customers can still order trade supplies for essential services online and by phone for contactless collection and home delivery.[344]

On 12 May, hardware and DIY chain Bunnings announced that it will close seven stores in Ashburton, Hornby, Hastings, Cambridge, Rangiora, Te Awamutu, and Putaruru with the loss of 145 jobs.[345][346]

On 25 May, it was reported that the department store chain H & J Smith was considering closing its stores in Dunedin, Mosgiel, Balclutha, Te Anau, and Gore as well as the Armoury Store in Dunedin and Outdoor World in Queenstown. The Take Note store in Gore would relocate but H & J Smith's stores in Invercargill and Queenstown would remain open. A final decision will be made in early June.[347][348][349] Dunedin and Clutha Mayors Aaron Hawkins and Bryan Cadogan have urged the company to reconsider their closure plans.[348][349]

On 8 June, The Warehouse Group announced that it would be laying off 1,080 jobs and close down six stores including The Warehouse stores in Whangaparaoa, Johnsonville, Dunedin, the Warehouse Stationery in Te Awamutu, and the Noel Leeming stores in Henderson, Tokoroa, and two stores in Christchurch (The Palms and Papanui).[350][351] In response, First Union coordinator for The Warehouse Kate Davis criticised The Warehouse Group for not consulting with its workers, a charge that the company has denied.[352]

On 20 July, the Warehouse CEO Pejman Okhovat announced that it could cut between 500 and 750 jobs as part of a proposed restructuring of the company. First Union general secretary Dennis Maga has criticised the company for using COVID-19 as an excuse to lay off hundreds of workers and to reduce the incomes of thousands of workers.[353][354]

On 19 August, the supermarket chain Countdown temporarily closed two of its Auckland stores for cleaning after health authorities confirmed that they had been visited by two individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19.[355] On 22 August, Countdown shut down two more of its supermarkets in Auckland for cleaning after health authorities confirmed that an infected individual had visited those stores.[356]

On 26 August 2020, stationery supply company OfficeMax announced that it would be closing all 14 of its New Zealand branches and shift operations online in response to growing online usage and the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[357][358]

On 8 September 2020, supermarket chain Countdown closed its New Lynn supermarket temporarily for a "deep clean" after an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 visited the store the previous Friday.[359]

Sports and recreation

On 22 October, the North Shore gym "Snap Fitness" closed for five days after a person who later tested positive for COVID-19 visited the premises.[360]

Telecommunications providers

On 14 April, telco 2degrees announced that they were to cut the workforce by 10% (i.e. 120 staff), stop recruitment, and reduce spending on capital projects.[361]

On 10 September, pay television company Sky reported a loss of NZ$175 million, down 74% the previous year, after it wrote-down the value of its assets by $178m to reflect the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While commercial and advertising revenue was affected by the pandemic, revenue from streaming was up by 35 percent, contributing to an overall revenue figure of NZ$747.6 million.[362] The company had also laid off 200 workers (roughly 18%) of its workforce since June 2019.[363]

Tourism sector

The imposition of border restrictions has had a major effect on the international tourism sector. For the month of February 2020, the number of international visitors arriving in New Zealand fell 11% compared to February 2019, mostly driven by a 90% drop in visitors from mainland China.[364] In March 2020, international visitor arrivals fell 54% compared to March 2019.[365]

On 8 April 2020 travel company Flight Centre announced that it would close 58 stores permanently. Flight Centre also announced that it was laying off 300 employees temporarily and 250 employees permanently.[366][367]

In early May, Stuff reported that thousands of migrant workers have been left unemployed in the tourist town of Queenstown with no money for food or rent. According to Queenstown-Lakes District mayor Jim Boult, 6,000 migrants had requested welfare assistance from local authorities.[368]

on 25 June, it was reported that bungy jumping company AJ Hackett Bungy had been able to save 20 jobs as a result of a $10.2 million bail-out package from the government. This package also allows the company to reopen 13 of its branches in Queenstown, Auckland, and Taupo.[369]

Civil society responses

 
Empty bread shelves at a supermarket in Wellington after panic buying (22 March 2020)

Increased demand for face masks and hand sanitisers led to shortages nationwide in supermarkets and pharmacies.[370][371] Following the first New Zealand case of COVID-19 on 28 February, customers were reportedly panic-buying supplies at Auckland supermarkets.[372][373]

Following the implementation of stronger border controls, SANZAAR announced on 14 March that it would suspend play of its Super Rugby season (which features five New Zealand teams) following the conclusion of that weekend's matches.[374]

On 15 March, it was announced that the Warbirds Over Wanaka 2020 airshow was cancelled due to the Government's response to the pandemic.[375] This was the first time in the biennial event's history that it had been cancelled.[citation needed]

On 19 March, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association announced that all Anzac Day services, scheduled for 25 April, would be cancelled and the red poppy collection postponed due to the health risk. This was the first time that Anzac Day services have not been held since 1916.[376]

Māori responses

A Wellington iwi placed a taupāruru (restriction) on the practice of hongi, a traditional Māori greeting, in response to the outbreak.[377]

On 24 March, former Tai Tokerau Member of Parliament Hone Harawira announced that local iwi in the Far North were working with local authorities and Mayor of Far North John Carter to set up roadblocks to prevent foreign tourists from travelling into the area. Tourists in the area would be encouraged to leave the Far North. Roadblocks were set up at State Highway 1 at Whakapara and State Highway 12 at Waipoua. Harawira criticised the Government for not stopping tourists from entering the country prior to the border closure.[378] By 26 March, at least three groups of tourists had been stopped from entering the Far North. A testing centre was also set up at Waiomio Hill to test locals returning from overseas.[379] Having set up illegal road blocks to stop people from bringing the virus into the Far North, Hone Harawira broke Level 4 Lockdown restrictions to make a 600 km round trip to Auckland, then a virus hot spot, on 12 April. Harawira claimed that the purpose of the trip was to obtain medical supplies and visiting his sister was unimportant.[380]

Similar measures were put in place on the East Cape area of the North Island.[381] In April, there were reports that iwi checkpoints in the central North Island, East Coast, and Northland were obstructing essential travel by local residents. National Member of Parliament for Northland Matt King said that constituents had complained about being verbally abused and spat upon at iwi checkpoints in Northland.[382][383] In response, Police Minister Stuart Nash warned that the Police would take action against "illegal" checkpoints that had been set up without police support while allowing checkpoints in remote towns as long as they had the support of the local police and community.[382]

In early May 2020, Newshub reported that the iwi Te Whānau-ā-Apanui in the eastern Bay of Plenty region had been operating an unauthorised travel permit system to protect the region's elderly population, horticulture, and agricultural industries. This included a requirement for essential workers to provide a letter from the Ministry for Primary Industries proving that their travel complied with lockdown rules, which were eased when Alert Level 4 came to an end on 28 April. On 6 May, the New Zealand Police clarified that community road block operators in the Bay of Plenty did not have the authority to turn away New Zealanders lacking the necessary travel documents.[384][385]

Faith communities' responses

In mid-March, several faith communities and denominations including the Catholic Church, the Supreme Sikh Society, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and LIFE church announced that they would be cancelling or reducing large gatherings and taking more health precautions in response to the Government's ban on gatherings with more than 100 people. However, Bishop Brian Tamaki's Destiny Church initially refused to close their services, with Tamaki stating that they would not let a "filthy virus" scare them out of attending church.[386] In response, infectious diseases expert Dr Siouxsie Wiles criticised Bishop Tamaki for undermining efforts to keep New Zealanders safe.[387]

Smaller congregations like Elim Church and C3 Church in Marlborough have halved services in order to comply with the Government's ban on gatherings with more than 100 people while the Nativity Church has set up networks to support parishioners.[388]

On 20 March, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference declared that all public Masses would be suspended for the foreseeable future. This decision was made in line with the government's decision to cancel mass indoor events with more than 100 people.[389]

On 29 March, it was reported that members of the exclusive Gloriavale Christian Community were not complying with lockdown measures and that daycare centres, schools, and meetings were still ongoing. The Police have since announced that they are working with Gloriavale to make sure that its members abided with lockdown restrictions.[390]

In late March 2020, there were reports that members of the Muslim community in New Zealand were having trouble accessing halal food due to the closure of butcheries, which were not deemed an "essential service" under Alert Level 4.[391][392][393]

Under the Government's Alert Level 2 restrictions which came into force on 14 May, religious gatherings have been limited to ten persons despite the Government stating that they could have a 100-person limit. The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) issued a press release that New Zealand Muslims would be unable to hold their Eid prayers at mosques and community centers due to the ten person limit on private gatherings.[394] The Catholic bishops of New Zealand have expressed disappointment with the ten-person limit, describing the measures as too restrictive.[395] Meanwhile, Bishop Tamaki of Destiny Church has announced that his movement would be holding services in defiance of Level 2 lockdown restrictions.[396][397] The New Zealand Muslim Association President Ikhlaq Kashkari has expressed disappointment that the ten person limit will prevent mosques from gathering for Ramadan. The Minister of Commoners Weslyan Methodist Community Reverend Frank Ritchie has also criticised the perceived double standard towards faith communities.[398]

On 25 May, the Government raised the limit on religious services from ten to 100 persons, allowing many faith communities to resume mass gatherings.[131][132][133]

On 29 August, 1 News reported that several members of Mount Roskill Evangelical Fellowship Church had continued to meet privately despite the Level 3 lockdown that had come into force in the Auckland Region between 12 and 30 August.[399] Health authorities had earlier identified the church as a sub-cluster of the Auckland August cluster.[400] On 31 August, Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced that health authorities were investigating claims that the church held meetings during Auckland's Alert Level 3 restrictions. Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles also said that genome sequencing would be used to prove whether cases at the church were linked to the Auckland cluster. 15 COVID-19 cases have been linked to the Mt Roskill church sub-cluster.[401]

On 10 September, several Christian leaders including Pacific Response Coordination Team chairman Pakilau Manase Lua and Wesleyan Methodist minister Frank Ritchie expressed concern about misinformation relating to COVID-19 circulating among New Zealand congregants attending churches with links to conservative evangelical and Pentecostal churches in the United States.[402]

Mass gatherings and protests

George Floyd protests

On 1 June, Black Lives Matter (BLM) solidarity protests were held in several major centres including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga, Palmerston North and Hamilton in response to the killing of George Floyd, which had sparked a wave of protests and riots in the United States and around the world. 4,000 people attended the Auckland rally alone, which saw participants marching from Aotea Square down Queen Street to the American Consulate General. In Wellington, hundreds gathered outside Parliament. According to media reports, there was little social distancing due to the large volume of participants.[403][404][405][406][407]

Microbiologist and health adviser Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, and ACT Party leader David Seymour have criticized march participants for flouting Level 2 lockdown restrictions. Dr Wiles called for people who attended the BLM marches and gatherings to self-isolate for 14 days. Peters and Seymour criticised participants for violating Alert Level 2 lockdown restrictions and undermining efforts to eliminate COVID-19, while calling on the Government to move towards Alert Level 1.[408][409] Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticised protesters for violating Level 2 restrictions in the midst of a global pandemic, while expressing sympathy for George Floyd.[410][411] Police Minister Stuart Nash also indicated that New Zealand Police are not seeking to prosecute protesters while expressing disappointment that social distancing rules had been flouted.[412] Opposition Leader Todd Muller has criticised the Government for sending mixed messages about COVID-19 alert levels, alleging that they caused the public to become complacent about social distancing, citing the BLM rallies as an example.[413]

In response, Christchurch BLM protest organiser Will Hunter defended his decision to hold the rally, which attracted 700 people. He also said that he and his fellow organisers had urged participants to take health precautions including wearing gloves, masks, social distancing and staying at home if sick.[414]

Anti-lockdown protests

On 13 August 2020, 60 protesters from two groups, FACTS NZ and the Kotahitanga Movement Aotearoa, held a protest march against the Government's COVID-19 lockdown in Whangārei. The participants included New Zealand Public Party leader Billy Te Kahika.[415]

On 22 August, 100 anti-lockdown protesters peacefully demonstrated in Auckland's Queen Street. The protest was organised by the NZ Liberty March with several not wearing masks, criticising the Government's lockdown policy and making "health claims" about COVID-19.[416][417]

On 29 August, hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Auckland's Queen Street. This "liberty march" was attended by Advance New Zealand party co-leader Jami-Lee Ross and New Conservative Party deputy leader Elliot Ikilei. Several attendees claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic had been planned and opposed the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. This protest breached the Alert Level 3 restrictions on mass gatherings in Auckland.[418]

On 5 September, several anti-lockdown protests were held throughout the country including Auckland, Whangārei, Wellington, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Rotorua, Nelson and Christchurch.[419]

On 12 September, the Advance NZ party and Liberty March movement staged a "National Rally for Freedom" in Auckland's Aotea Square which was attended by thousands of people, including Advanced NZ party co-leaders Te Kahika and Ross. This protest breached Auckland's Alert Level 2.5 ban on gatherings of more than ten persons.[420][421][422]

On 10 October, the Advance NZ party led by MP Ross staged a "Rally for your Future" in Auckland's Aotea Square. The NZ Liberty Movement, which had previously organised rallies with Advance NZ, did not participate due to a lack of communication and collaboration with the latter.[423]

Education sector responses

Primary and secondary schools

On 17 March, Logan Park High School in Dunedin closed for 48 hours after one of its students tested positive for the coronavirus.[424][425]

On 23 March, several schools in Auckland including Marist College, Randwick Park School and Glendowie College closed after several teachers and parents tested positive for the coronavirus.[426][427] That same day, the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand called on the Government to shut down all schools immediately.[428] In response to a spike of cases and the upgrading of New Zealand's coronavirus Alert Level to Level 3, the Government closed down all schools and early childhood centres.[429]

On 13 May, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the end-of-year high school National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) external exams would be postponed from 6 to 16 November 2020.[127]

On 26 August, Auckland's Secondary Principals' Association announced that secondary schools were planning catch-up classes and holiday lessons for students whose education had been affected by the city's lockdown.[430]

On 8 September, St Dominic's Catholic College in Auckland's Henderson suburb announced that it would shut down for a "deep clean" for three days after it was reported that a student tested positive for COVID-19 that same day.[431]

On 16 September, Chapel Downs Primary School in Auckland's Manukau suburb closed for the rest of the week after a student tested positive for COVID-19.[432]

On 9 November, Otorohanga College closed down its hostel after health authorities confirmed that a traveler from Wellington who had tested positive for COVID-19 had visited the facility while traveling through Otorohanga and Kawhia in the Waikato region.[433]

Universities and tertiary providers

On 17 March, the University of Canterbury became the first university in New Zealand to recall its exchange students from overseas, stating that "Given the rapidly escalating global situation and the increasing amount of travel restrictions worldwide, and intensive consultation with our partners, [we have] made the very difficult decision to suspend our exchange programmes and recall all UC outbound exchange students, effective immediately."[434]

On 20 March, Massey University stopped face-to-face teaching of courses that could be taught by distance.[435] The University of Auckland suspended classes for the week of 23–27 March to allow staff to prepare for remote teaching in the event of a partial campus closure.[436][435] The University of Otago in Dunedin has also shifted classes with more than 100 students online while students at the University of Canterbury have petitioned for all classes to be moved online.[437]

On 21 March, Auckland University of Technology announced that it would be suspending teaching in response to a petition from students.[438] The University of Canterbury also announced they could move to online learning.[439] On 23 March, all universities suspended physical lectures and shifted to online learning in response to the Government's imposition of an Alert level 3 lockdown.[429]

On 14 April, the Government released a tertiary support package but it was considered unsatisfactory by tertiary students and student associations.[440][441] Several university halls of residence including Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Otago were criticised for continuing to charge rent from students, who had left their accommodation during the lockdown to isolate with their families.[442][443] Other universities like the University of Waikato waived rent for unused accommodation.[444] Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick criticised these universities' practices and successfully lobbied for a parliamentary inquiry into student accommodation.[445]

In September 2020, the University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater announced plans to resume on-campus teaching on 21 September. Following criticism from Director-General Bloomfield and students, the University retracted its decision and delayed plans to resume on-campus teaching until 5 October 2020.[446][447]

On 12 October 2020, the Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the Government would be introducing a new border exemption allowing 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand. These students will undergo the two-week mandatory quarantine.[268]

On 11 November, the New Zealand Police confirmed that they were investigating an anonymous post on the controversial social media platform 8Chan by an individual claiming that they were seeking to deliberately spread COVID-19 among students taking their final year exams at the University of Auckland.[448]

On 12 November, the University of Auckland shifted all exams at its Auckland Central campuses (City, Grafton, Newmarket, and Epsom) scheduled for Friday online following the discovery of a community transmission in the city centre.[449]

Animal welfare

On 15 April, Stuff reported that many pets included cats and dogs were stuck in transit at pet shipping companies and animal homes due to the disruption of travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in New Zealand. Due to lockdown restrictions, the transportation of pets is not deemed an essential service. Air New Zealand has announced that it would consider reopening its pet transportation service when Level 4 lockdown restrictions were lifted.[450]

Court rulings

On 4 May, a High Court judge allowed a man who had travelled from the United Kingdom to visit his dying father, overruling the Government's strict lockdown orders including a 14-day quarantine period for all overseas travellers. In response, Prime Minister Ardern asked Health Minister David Clark to review 24 cases where health authorities blocked requests by individuals to see their dying relatives on health grounds.[451][452] As a result of the Government's review, a woman was granted exemption from the mandatory 14-day quarantine to visit her 59 year old terminally ill mother.[453]

On 19 August, the Wellington High Court ruled that the Government's message to stay at home at the start of the Alert Level 4 lockdown for nine days between 26 March and 3 April was justified but unlawful and contrary to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. A law change on 3 April made the lockdown legal. The High Court's ruling had come in response to a legal challenge mounted by lawyer Andrew Borrowdale. The Attorney General David Parker has defended the Government's handling of the lockdown and not ruled out an appeal against the ruling.[454][455]

Vaccines

In late August 2020 Stuff reported that several businessmen and former politicians (including former National MP Ross Meurant and former National Party and ACT party leader Don Brash) had sought to import Russia's insufficiently tested Gam-COVID-Vac (also known as Sputnik V) vaccine into New Zealand. They had established a company called Covax-NZR Limited and filed paperwork through the Russian Embassy to establish supply and distribution arrangements to import the vaccine. University of Auckland vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris warned that using untested vaccines could hurt global efforts to develop safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19.[456]

On 12 October 2020, the Government signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines, which is enough for 750,000 people. The COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy Task Force is also negotiating with other pharmaceutical companies to provide vaccines. In addition, the Government has established a fund of $66.3 million to support a COVID-19 immunisation programme as soon as the vaccine is ready.[457]

Public opinion

Government response approval

An Utting Research poll conducted on 1–2 March found that 47% of respondents were satisfied with the government's overall response to the COVID-19 outbreak, with 34% unsatisfied and 19% unsure.[458] A subsequent poll conducted on 21–22 March, prior to the lockdown announcement, found that 62% of respondents were satisfied with the response.[459] However, 37% were not confident a large-scale outbreak could be prevented in New Zealand, with 26% confident and 36% unsure.[459]

A Newshub-Reid Research poll conducted from 8 to 16 May 2020 asked whether it was "the right call" to implement the March–April nationwide Level 4 stay-at-home order. 91.6% responded "yes", 6% "no" and 2.5% "don't know".[460]

On 9 August, a Horizon Research poll found that trust in the Ministry of Health and Government's ability to manage the COVID-19 pandemic was 82%, down from 91% in April 2020. The poll also found that 64% of New Zealanders still "totally" trusted the Government and Ministry of Health, down from 75% in April.[461]

Date Polling organisation Sample size Satisfied Not satisfied Unsure Lead
14–19 Jul 2020 Horizon Poll 1,762 82 17 1 65
16–20 May 2020 Colmar Brunton 1,003 92 7 2 85
20–21 April 2020 Colmar Brunton 601 87 8 5 79
3–5 April 2020 Colmar Brunton 601 84 9 6 75
21–22 March 2020 Utting Research/Stuff 3,133 62 22 16 40
1–2 March 2020 Utting Research/Stuff 1,900 47 37 16 10
8–12 February 2020 Colmar Brunton 1,004 62 25 12 37

Media perception

Due to the large viewing of the daily 1 pm press briefings, the actions of and lines of questioning from journalists came under scrutiny from the public, with many criticising repetitive or aggressive lines of questioning and "gotcha" accusations. Stuff journalist Thomas Coughlan replied that the criticism "seemed to come from nowhere" and these actions are "really the way it's always been", saying that the methodology has only come into question due to the large viewership of the press conferences.[462] Television producer Robyn Patterson, writing for Newsroom, commented that the "aggressive stance of some local journalists ... is leading to a public backlash", which "elevates the anxiety levels of an already distressed public and creates deep unease". She noted that a 2019 Griffith University study of journalistic best practice recommended that journalists consider the needs of those impacted by disastrous events or else they risk to cause more harm than good.[463]

International responses

On 8 September, the Secretary-General of the World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom praised New Zealand's response to the COVID-19 pandemic alongside several other countries including Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, and Vietnam.[464]

On 28 October, Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson criticised Prime Minister Ardern's requirement that people undergoing managed isolation quarantine be tested as a condition for leaving on Fox News's The Ingraham Angle while the show's host Laura Ingraham likened MIQ facilities to coronavirus "quarantine camps".[465] Hanson and Laura Ingraham drew coverage from New Zealand media commentators including The Spinoff's Alex Braee, who compared their remarks to former United Kingdom Independence Party politician Suzanne Evans' remarks likening New Zealand's lockdown policies to Nazi Germany.[466] Newshub's Jamie Ensor responded that Ingraham's comments lacked context, explaining that the camps were actually lavish hotels and motels.[467]

Long-term effects

In April 2020, the New Zealand Treasury projected that the country could experience an unemployment rate of 13.5% if the country remained in lockdown for four weeks, with a range of between 17.5% and 26% if the lockdown was extended.[468] Prior to the lockdown, the unemployment rate was at 4.2%.[469] Finance Minister Grant Robertson vowed that the Government would keep the unemployment rate below 10%.[470]

In the second quarter of 2020, unemployment fell 0.2 percentage points to 4 percent; however, the under-utilization rate (a measure of spare capacity in the labor market) rose to a record 12 percent, up 1.6 percentage points from the previous quarter, and working hours fell by 10 percent.[471]

National GDP contracted 1.6% in the first quarter of 2020.[472] The country officially entered a recession in September after Statistics New Zealand reported a GDP contraction of 12.2% in the second quarter of 2020.[473] The second-quarter contraction was lead by a 47.4% contraction in accommodation and food and beverage services, a 38.7% contraction in transport, postal and warehousing, and a 25.8% contaction in construction.[474]

On 4 November 2020, Statistics New Zealand reported that the unemployment rate had risen to 5.3% as a result of COVID-19, with the number of unemployed increasing by 37,000 to reach 151,000.[475]

Alert level system

On 21 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the introduction of a country-wide alert level system, similar to the existing fire warning systems. There are four levels, with 1 being the least risk of infection and 4 the highest. At the time of the announcement, New Zealand was at Level 2. Each level brings added restrictions on activities or movements. Each region can have an individual alert level based on the severity of their own infections, and these levels can be changed at any time.[476][80]

At the time of Ardern's announcement, New Zealand was at Alert Level 2.[477] Ardern announced on 23 March that, effective immediately, New Zealand would be at Alert Level 3, moving to Level 4 at 11:59 pm on 25 March.[478] On 20 April, Ardern announced that New Zealand would move to Alert Level 3 at 11:59 pm on 27 April, with businesses and schools being allowed to have employees enter the premises during the last week of Alert Level 4 to prepare the facility for the transition to Alert Level 3.[479] The country remained at Alert Level 3 for at least two weeks, with the decision of whether to move down to Level 2 made on 11 May.[480] On 11 May, it was announced that New Zealand would enter Alert Level 2 from 11:59 pm on 13 May, lifting lockdown restrictions while maintaining physical distancing in public and for private gatherings with more than ten people.[124] On 8 June, Ardern announced that the country would enter Alert Level 1 at 11:59 pm that night, lifting the remaining restrictions.[481] After new cases of community transmission were detected on 11 August, New Zealand was moved to Alert Level 2 and Auckland to Level 3 at noon on 12 August;[2] Auckland moved down to Level "2.5", a modified version of Level 2 with further limitations on public gatherings and mandated mask wearing on public transport, at 11:59 pm on 30 August.[7] New Zealand moved to Level 1 on 21 September at 11:59 pm while Auckland moved to Level 2 on 23 September at 11:59 pm.[8] Auckland moved down to Level 1 on 7 October at 11:59 pm.[191]

Alert levels

Alert levels are cumulative – each level includes the restrictions of the level below it. The levels are as follows:[482]

No. Name Description and Measures
1 Prepare COVID-19 is uncontrolled overseas. The disease is contained in New Zealand and there are sporadic imported cases, but isolated household transmission could be occurring.
  • Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing COVID-19 cases.
  • Intensive testing for COVID-19.
  • Rapid contact tracing of any positive case.
  • People arriving in New Zealand without symptoms of COVID-19 go into a managed isolation facility for at least 14 days.[483]
  • People arriving in New Zealand with symptoms of COVID-19 or who test positive after arrival go into a quarantine facility and are unable to leave their room for at least 14 days.[483]
  • Mandatory self-isolation may be applied.
  • Schools and workplaces are open, and must operate safely.
  • No restrictions on personal movement or gatherings.
  • Stay home if you are sick, report flu-like symptoms.
  • Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, do not touch your face.
  • No restrictions on domestic transport – avoid public transport or travel if sick.
  • Businesses and public transport must display QR codes to allow for contact tracing.
2 Reduce The disease is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains. Household transmission could be occurring, and there are single or isolated cluster outbreaks.
  • People can connect with friends and family, go shopping, or travel domestically, but should follow public health guidance.
  • Physical distancing of two metres from people you do not know when out in public is recommended, with one metre physical distancing in controlled environments like workplaces unless other measures are in place.
  • No more than 100 people at indoor or outdoor gatherings (subject to any lower limit, e.g. fire regulations).
  • Sport and recreation activities are allowed, subject to conditions on gatherings, contact tracing, and – where practical – physical distancing.
  • Public venues can open but must comply with public health measures.
  • Health and disability care services operate as normally as possible.
  • Businesses can open to the public, but must follow public health guidance including in relation to physical distancing and contact tracing. Alternative ways of working encouraged where possible (e.g. remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing, staggering meal breaks, flexible leave).
  • Schools, early childhood education and tertiary education providers can open with appropriate public health measures in place.
  • People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well controlled, and seniors) are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. They may work, if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely.
  • Face coverings are required on public transport and aircraft, but not school buses or Cook Strait ferries. children under 12 are exempt along with passengers in taxis or rideshare services and people with disabilities or mental health conditions.
3 Restrict There is a high risk the disease is not contained. Community transmission might be happening. New clusters may emerge but can be controlled through testing and contact tracing.
  • People instructed to stay home in their support bubble other than for essential personal movement – including to go to work, school if they have to or for local recreation.
  • Physical distancing of two metres outside home (including on public transport), or one metre In controlled environments like schools and workplaces.
  • People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family / whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.
  • Schools (years 1 to 10) and Early Childhood Education centres can safely open, but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.
  • People must work from home unless that is not possible.
  • Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.
  • Low risk local recreation activities are allowed.
  • Public venues are closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets).
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures must be maintained.
  • Healthcare services use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.
  • Inter-regional travel is highly limited (e.g. for essential workers, with limited exemptions for others).
  • People at high risk of severe illness (older people and those with existing medical conditions) are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to continue to work.
4 Eliminate It is likely the disease is not contained. Sustained and intensive community transmission is occurring, and there are widespread outbreaks and new clusters.
  • People must stay at home (in their bubble) other than for essential personal movement.
  • Safe recreational activity is allowed in local area.
  • Travel is severely limited.
  • All gatherings cancelled and all public venues closed.
  • Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations) and lifeline utilities.
  • Educational facilities closed.
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities possible.
  • Reprioritisation of healthcare services.

Essential services

 
Supermarket staff behind protective screens and wearing gloves on 31 March 2020

The "essential services" referenced in Alert Level 4 include:[484][485][486]

  • Accommodation
    • Any entity that provides accommodation services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing
    • Retirement villages
  • Border
  • Building and construction
    • Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure, including those in the supply and support chain
    • Any entity involved in any work required to address immediate health or life safety risks, or to prevent serious environmental harm, and relevant essential supply chain elements
    • Any entity with statutory responsibilities or that is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes
  • Courts, tribunals and the justice system
  • Education
    • Any entity or individual determined by the Secretary for Education as required to provide distance or online learning (e.g. printers, devices, IT)
  • Fast-moving community goods
    • Any entity involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people
  • Financial services
    • Any entity that operates consumer and business financial services, financial services infrastructure (including banking services), a stock exchange, broking services, payment and settlement systems, funds management (including KiwiSaver), insurance services, financial advice, and support services such as administrators, supervisors and custodians
  • Health
    • District health boards (and all of their facilities), Pharmac, New Zealand Blood Service, Health Promotion Agency, Health Quality and Safety Commission
    • Any person employed or contracted as a doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists, kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged-care and community workers, and caregivers more generally
    • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities (e.g. rest homes)
    • Emergency dental and optometry care services
    • Any entity providing ambulance services
    • Any entity involved with the deceased/tūpāpaku (e.g. funeral homes, crematoria, cemeteries)
    • Any entity producing health sector equipment, medicines and personal protective equipment
  • Local and national government
    • Any entity involved in COVID-19 response, enforcement, planning or logistics or that has civil-defence/emergency management functions (including any entity that supplies services for these purposes)
    • Key public services
  • Foreign government
    • Maintaining critical operations at foreign missions based in New Zealand.
  • Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing
    • Any entity involved in the packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export
    • Any entity involved in relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
    • Any entity providing veterinary services
    • Any entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards (including the short-term survival of a species)
  • Public safety and national security
  • Science
    • ESR, GNS Science, GeoNet, NIWA, MetService
    • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in COVID-19 response
    • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in hazard monitoring and resilience
    • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in diagnostics for essential services like biosecurity, public health
    • Laboratories and Physical Containment Level 3 (PC3) facilities that could provide essential services and products that could be used to respond to COVID-19
    • Other significant research facilities including animal facilities, clinical trials and infrastructure that require constant attention (e.g. samples, collections and storage facilities) that are important to New Zealand
  • Social services
  • Transport and logistics
    • Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs Service, NZ Transport Agency, Civil Aviation Authority (including Aviation Security Service), Maritime New Zealand (including the Rescue Coordination Centre), Airways NZ, MetService, KiwiRail (including Interislander), and any entity that is contracted by these entities
    • Any entity that provides, or is contracted to an entity that provides, logistics services, including New Zealand Post and courier services
    • Any entity providing, or is contracted by an entity that provides, transport services to the Ministry of Health, a District Health Board, a Medical Officer of Health, or a Controller (as defined in section 4 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002)
    • Any entity that provides services related to the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure (e.g. roads, rail, ports, airports)
    • Any entity that operates or is contracted by a lifeline utility, an aerodrome, a passenger and/or freight aviation service, a passenger and/or freight shipping service, a road freight service, a rail freight service, a vehicle recovery service; or a public transport service (under contract with a Regional Council)
    • Any small passenger-service vehicle driver (who holds the relevant licence) such as ride-share or taxi drivers
    • Any entity providing services to keep vehicles operational for essential work purposes (e.g. vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services)
  • Utilities and communications, including supply chains
    • Any entity involved in the production, supply, sale distribution or disposal of electricity, gas, water, waste water (e.g. sanitation), waste (e.g. rubbish collection and recycling), liquid and solid fuel, telecommunication services, and any entity that is contracted by these entities
    • The delivery of solid fuels (including firewood, pellets and coal) for immediate needs (e.g. home heating) or fulfilling existing orders, is an essential service.
    • News (including news production) and broadcast media
    • Internet service providers
    • Any entity that provides maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications, including supply chains
    • Any entity supplying services to an essential workplace that are required for the safe operation of that workplace (e.g. cleaning, security services)
    • Commercial cleaners that clean common areas of apartment buildings may continue to operate where there is high traffic (e.g. lifts, stairwells)
  • Additional decisions and exemptions
    • All supermarkets and dairies are considered an essential service. A supermarket's primary focus is selling food products, and is a retail store operating on a self-service basis, selling groceries, fresh produce, meat, bakery and dairy products, and sometimes an assortment of non-food goods. Dairies must operate a "one-in-one-out" rule, and cannot sell cooked food.
    • Essential consumer products other than food (e.g. blankets, heaters, kitchenware and appliances, whiteware, computer equipment and mobile phones) may be sold subject to conditions. If a business cannot meet these conditions, it must not offer goods for sale.
    • Food delivery other than cooked prepared meals such as takeaways is allowed (e.g. supermarket home delivery, food parcels from charitable organisations, subscription food boxes, or any other whole-food delivery service). Meals-on-Wheels may continue to deliver prepared food. Ordering, payment and delivery must be contactless and the business must operate safely within the general health guidelines such as physical separation and hygiene.
    • Locksmiths can undertake essential work on emergency call-outs and essential activity to maintain the security of premises/personal properties.
    • Turf maintenance is not considered an essential service and should not be undertaken at this time.
    • Pet care services are not considered to be essential, except where necessary to maintain existing boarding of animals in pet care, or for long-term care when no other alternatives are available.
    • Vehicle washing services must only be undertaken when supporting essential services to ensure they are complying with the necessary health and safety requirements (e.g. washing off contaminated or biohazard materials).
    • Road safety equipment for road construction should only be used only where maintenance is essential.
    • Farmers markets are not considered to be an essential service, as alternatives are available
    • Liquor stores must close to the public unless they are within monopoly Licensing Trust areas (i.e. West Auckland, Gore and Invercargill), in which case they can operate with a one-in-one-out rule.
    • Pest management may be undertaken only where required for human health and safety, and it is essential. However, operators must ensure people have somewhere safe to go while the process is underway, in particular where a property is being vacated
    • Campgrounds and backpacker accommodation providers may continue to operate under very strict protocols and management of access. (e.g. contact to be maintained only with people staying in the same abode/room; common social and recreation areas to be closed; split shift access to common areas)
    • Butchers, bakeries and similar small-scale food retailers are considered non-essential, as similar products are readily available in supermarkets.
    • Natural health services are considered non-essential.
    • Security is considered an essential service, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service.
    • Self-storage facilities can operate only to facilitate access for essentials. New sales or expiries of units are considered non-essential. Access to existing lockers is permitted for essential items or services only, e.g. fridges
    • Critical support services to ensure businesses and workers can continue working from home are considered to be essential. This includes functions such as IT and Payroll.
    • Every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation.
    • Self-service laundries can stay open, with 2-metre physical distancing to be enforced.
    • Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only.
    • The Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter is exempt from closure, due to the long and complicated process of closing and restarting the potlines.[487]
    • New Zealand Steel is to shut down in a way that allows for production to recommence easily.
    • Pulp and paper plants (e.g. Tasman, Kinleith) are to shut down their non-essential elements in a way that allows for production to recommence easily, and while maintaining essential production.
    • Methanex can remain in production, but at a scale consistent with the stability of gas supply.

Lockdown violations

Since New Zealand entered into a Level 4 alert lockdown on 25 March 2020, there have been several reports of people violating lockdown rules by congregating in crowds. On 1 April, Ardern described 20–29 year olds as the most vulnerable demographic to COVID-19 and called on them to comply with lockdown requirements.[488][489]

On 2 April, there were reports of beachgoers congregating in Auckland's Herne Bay, and Dunedin. Police have visited beachgoers, warning them to comply with the lockdown, while health authorities have warned about the risk of spreading the coronavirus and prolonging the lockdown.[490] In Otago, there have been reports of people jumping off the Albert Town Bridge near Wanaka.[clarification needed][491] In Auckland, Tongan ethnic community leaders have also warned that kava clubs are still meeting despite the lockdown, with some participants posting photos and videos on social media.[492] In Kaitaia, there have been reports of locals taking matters into their own hands by establishing checkpoints to enforce the lockdown.[493]

In early April, Health Minister David Clark was criticised for flouting official guidelines against non-essential travel after he drove to a Dunedin park two kilometres away from his home to ride a mountain bike trail. Clark later apologised to Prime Minister Ardern for not setting a good example to the public.[494][495][496] Later, Clark admitted that he had driven his family twenty kilometres to a nearby beach in Dunedin for a walk during the first week in lockdown. Clark offered his resignation to Prime Minister Ardern, who turned it down due to his role in leading the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she stripped Clark of his ministerial portfolio as Associate Finance Minister and demoted him to the bottom of Labour's Cabinet list.[497]

In early April, a Christchurch man was arrested by police after posting a Facebook video of himself deliberately coughing and sneezing on customers at a FreshChoice supermarket. Ardern warned that people would be arrested for deliberately coughing on others.[498][499] The man pleaded guilty to a charge of offensive behaviour in the Christchurch District Court. He received a negative test for COVID-19. The man later apologised for his actions.[500][501]

On 7 April, it was reported that the New Zealand Police had recorded 291 breaches under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 and the Health Act 1956. Of these, 263 people had been issued with warnings for breaking lockdown rules, 12 had received a youth referral, and 16 were facing charges. Clark, who was disciplined by the prime minister for violating lockdown requirements, was not listed among the 291 breaches reported.[502][503] On 8 April, the Police Commissioner Andrew Coster updated the figures to 367 breaches including 45 prosecutions, 309 warnings, and 13 youth referrals. Coster also reported that Police were dealing with 37,000 breaches, mainly by businesses.[504]

On 21 April, a Queenstown man was sentenced to a concurrent sentence of one month imprisonment and two weeks' imprisonment for breaching lockdown restrictions and damaging a stainless steel toilet.[505] In Auckland, a 32-year-old woman who allegedly spat at Auckland Transport staff on a train was charged with assault under the Crimes Act 1961. Auckland Transport has reported of incidents of stopping people trying to travel from outlying suburbs like Henderson and Takanini to shop in the city centre and groups of young people travelling on trains for non-essential reasons.[506]

On 3 May, it was reported that Police had received 1,200 reports of people breaching Alert Level 3 restrictions. 686 of these reports were filed between 6 pm on 1 May and 6pm on 2 May. Police confirmed that they had taken enforcement action against 514 people for breaches of either the Health Act or the Civil Defence Emergency Act since Alert Level 3 came into force on midnight 28 April, prosecuting 135 and warning 342.[507] Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Scott Fraser also announced that they had to close down hundreds of parties in the past few days since the Alert Level 3 lockdown came into force. He warned that illegal public gatherings would "waste all the sacrifices" others had to make to beat COVID-19.[508]

On 18 May, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster confirmed that the Police had received 250 reports of illegal mass gatherings in the four days since Alert Level 2 came into effect on 14 May. These included 30 reports of people holding or attending illegal parties; 29 of which resulted in a warning and one in a prosecution.[509]

Managed isolation violations

On 5 July, it was reported that a woman who had escaped managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland had been apprehended and charged with breaching the 14-day isolation period under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. The woman had arrived from Australia on 27 June.[510][511]

On 8 July, a 32-year-old man, who had arrived from India, was charged with violating Section 26 (1) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 after he escaped managed isolation at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in central Auckland. He visited the Countdown supermarket in Victoria Street before being located by security guards after 70 minutes. After the man tested positive for COVID-19, the supermarket closed temporarily with its staff entering into self-isolation.[512]

On 10 July, a man was arrested for violating the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 after he cut through a fence at a managed isolation facility at Distinction Hotel in Hamilton and visited a liquor store the previous night.[513] The man had tested negative for COVID-19 and was later identified as a 52-year-old Queenstown resident,[514] who had returned from Sydney on 1 July.[513] On 27 August, the Hamilton District Court sentenced him to 40 hours' community service and ordered him to pay NZ$1,000 in reparations for damaging a flat screen television set in his room.[515]

On 11 July, a man in his 60s escaped a managed isolation facility at Waipuna Hotel in Auckland and knocked on the doors of three residents outside the facility. He was subsequently picked up by police and placed under armed guard at Waipuna Hotel.[516][517]

On 25 July, it was reported that authorities had detained a family of five (comprising a mother and four children aged 12, 16, 17, and 18) for breaching managed isolation at the Distinction Hotel in Hamilton. The family had arrived from Brisbane in Australia on 21 July in order to attend a relative's funeral in Auckland. While the family's application for an exemption was being processed by the Health Ministry, they had escaped by breaking a window and scaling a fence. Four members of the family were apprehended by Police in a nearby park while the 17-year old had traveled to Auckland where he was detained by Police there. Government minister Woods has criticised the family breaking the rules, stating that "while we can understand their grief we can not let one tragedy to turn into a tragedy of hundreds." Four members of the family have been charged with breaching a Health Act notice.[518] On 28 August, the mother and her 18-year-old daughter were sentenced to 14 days imprisonment by Judge Noel Sainsbury of the Auckland District Court.[519] The mother and her daughter's harsher sentence in comparison to a 52-year-old man in Hamilton who was sentenced to no jail time raised questions about alleged "systematic racism" in the New Zealand justice system against Māori.[520] New Zealand Public Party leader Billy Te Kahika has advocated on behalf of the woman and her family, also claiming credit for getting her sentence reduced by seven days.[422]

On 30 July, a 32-year-old man, who had travelled from Brisbane, was apprehended following a failed attempt to breach managed isolation at the Crowne Plaza in central Auckland. The man was charged under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act.[521]

On 14 October, a 22-year-old woman was charged with allegedly trying to escape from Auckland's Grand Millennium Hotel during three incidents in October 2020.[522]

on 11 November, the West Indies cricket team were denied further training privileges after members breached managed isolation rules by mingling and sharing food while undergoing managed isolation at the "Chateau in the Park" hotel in Christchurch.[523]

Leaks and misinformation

In early July 2020, National Party MP Hamish Walker admitted leaking the private details of COVID-19 patients to the media.[524] Former National Party President Michelle Boag had passed Walker the information in her capacity as chief executive of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.[525] Walker was stripped of his portfolios and later announced that he would not be contesting the 2020 general election.[526] Boag, who also admitted leaking similar information to National MP Michael Woodhouse, subsequently resigned from her position with the Helicopter Trust and her membership of the National Party.[527]

On 18 August 2020, managed isolation and quarantine deputy chief executive Megan Main confirmed that a First Security guard had leaked information about the names, room numbers, and travel itineraries of returnees staying in managed isolation at Auckland's Sheraton Four Points managed isolation facility on Snapchat. Main apologised for the returnees' privacy breach. She also confirmed that the guard had been removed from duty at the hotel and that First Security was conducting an employment investigation into the guard.[528] That same day, the The New Zealand Herald reported that a man had admitted spreading a rumor on Reddit that a recent outbreak of commmunity transmissions in Auckland in mid-August had been caused by a family member supposedly entering a managed isolation facility. This rumor was dismissed by health authorities.[529]

Maritime travel breaches

In late September, it was reported that three German yachties had defied New Zealand's COVID-19 laws by sailing from Tahiti to Opua, Northland despite having their application for a border exemption denied by Immigration New Zealand. After being tested and quarantined on their vessel for 14 days, the three returned to Germany on 1 October and are subject to a travel ban from New Zealand. While Immigration New Zealand defended their decision, Rear Commodore Guy Chester of the Ocean Cruising Club expressed concerns about the plight of hundreds of yachties stranded in the Pacific, who were unable to dock in New Zealand and Australia due to COVID-19 border restrictions.[530][531][532]

Support bubble

 
The support bubble concept

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand launched the support bubble concept.[533] A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom you have close physical contact. People in a bubble do not have to practice social distancing from others within the same bubble. The entire bubble counts as one household.[534][535][536]

Testing

Requirements

In early March 2020, there were concerns about COVID-19 tests being given only to people with symptoms who had returned from impacted countries or people who had been in contact with a confirmed case.[537] Some people with symptoms but who did not fit these categories were not tested.[538]

The case definition for qualifying for a COVID-19 test is having "any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, coryza, [or] anosmia with or without fever."[539]

The previous case definition for testing from 14 March to 3 April was meeting at least one of the following criteria:[540]

  • symptoms (fever or cough or shortness of breath or sore throat) and travel history
  • symptoms (fever or cough or shortness of breath or sore throat) and close or causal contact with a suspect, probable or confirmed case
  • healthcare workers with pneumonia
  • people treated in intensive care units for severe respiratory illnesses

For cases not fitting this case definition doctors are encouraged to use their own judgement whether to test the patient or not.[541]

On 18 August, Newshub reported that a senior quarantine official had revealed that quarantine workers had requested a regular testing "regime" multiple times but their concerns were ignored. While Prime Minister Ardern had initially claimed that some workers were reluctant, Health Minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged that he was aware that the testing of border staff was incomplete during a briefing, stating that "they should not have been declined tests." Opposition Leader Judith Collins criticised the Government's handling of the issue.[542]

Results

As of 30 September 2020, there have been 960,559 tests completed in total,[1] with a positivity rate of 0.15%. As of 27 September 2020, the ethnic group with the highest rate of testing is Pacific, with 27.5% of that population being tested, followed by Māori with 15.9%, European/MELAA/Other with 13.9%, and finally Asian with 12.1%,[h] out of 746,478 people in total,[544] or 14.9% of the New Zealand population of 4,996,000.[545]

Starting from 16 April, random voluntary community testing took place in select supermarkets around the country to provide information on whether there still existed community transmission of the virus.[546][547] This testing resulted in no positive results out of 1000 people by 20 April.[548][needs update]

Statistics

Cases

As of 17 November 2020, New Zealand has 2,005 cases (1,649 confirmed and 356 probable cases) of COVID-19.[1] Based on the national population estimate of 4,966,000[545] this gives the country 290.2 confirmed cases per million population (360.9 confirmed and probable cases per million population).

Confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases by gender as of 17 November 2020[1]

  Female (53.47%)
  Male (46.53%)

Confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases by ethnicity as of 17 November 2020.[1]

  Māori (9.13%)
  Pacific (9.23%)
  Asian (17.41%)
  MELAA (3.24%)
  European or other (60.55%)
  Unknown (0.45%)

Broken down by district health board (DHB) as of 17 November 2020:[1]

DHB Cases
Total Deaths Recoveries Active
Auckland 228 1 226 1
Bay of Plenty 48 48 0
Canterbury 167 12 155 0
Capital and Coast 96 2 93 1
Counties Manukau 216 1 214 1
Hawke's Bay 44 44 0
Hutt Valley 23 22 1
Lakes 16 16 0
MidCentral 32 32 0
Nelson Marlborough 49 49 0
Northland 28 28 0
South Canterbury 17 17 0
Southern 216 2 214 0
Tairāwhiti 4 4 0
Taranaki 16 16 0
Waikato 194 2 192 0
Wairarapa 8 8 0
Waitematā 296 4 292 0
West Coast 5 1 4 0
Whanganui 9 9 0
Managed isolation & quarantine 293 236 57
New Zealand 2,005 25 1,919 61

No cases have been reported in the Chatham Islands,[549] Stewart Island,[citation needed] New Zealand's associated states (Cook Islands, Niue) or the dependent territory of Tokelau.[550]

During the lock down, overall weekly deaths declined in New Zealand compared to previous years.[551] The decline is thought to be linked to a reduction in deaths from traffic collisions, air pollution, work injuries, respiratory tract infections, and elective surgery.[551]

Clusters

 
Oyster Cove, the venue of the Bluff wedding at Stirling Point
 
Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch, the cluster with the greatest number of deaths

As of 17 November 2020, the Ministry of Health had identified 18 significant clusters of at least ten confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.

There is currently one active significant cluster in New Zealand:[552]

International Mariners, Christchurch – 33 (As of 17 November 2020)

The following clusters have been closed. A cluster is considered closed when there have been no new cases for two incubation periods (i.e. 28 days) from the date when all cases complete isolation.[552]

All 12 of the Canterbury DHB deaths were cases within the Rosewood Rest Home cluster. This cluster accounts for nearly half of the country's total death toll from COVID-19.

Progression of COVID-19

Progression of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand:[557]

                    Cases        Recovered        Hospitalised        Deaths        Active Cases[i]

The same graph in semi-log plot form:

                    Cases        Recovered        Hospitalised        Deaths        Active Cases

New cases and fatalities

New COVID-19 cases (confirmed and probable) and deaths in New Zealand:[557]

New cases per day

New deaths per day

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ A probable case is one without a positive laboratory result, but which is treated like a confirmed case based on its exposure history and clinical symptoms.
  2. ^ Zero new cases were reported on 19 May, but four 'historic' cases were added to the total number. These cases were from people aboard the Greg Mortimer who tested positive in Uruguay and returned to New Zealand in April. All four cases were classed as recovered by 19 May.[15]
  3. ^ Three new cases and six "historical" cases were reported on 23 September. The historical cases were from February and were retroactively classified as being caused by COVID-19. They were considered already recovered at the time of reporting.[16]
  4. ^ The total for 26 September includes one imported case and one "historical" case discovered during contact tracing.[17]
  5. ^ The total for 8 October includes two imported cases and one "historical" imported case.[18]
  6. ^ One new case was reported on 16 November, while a previous confirmed case was reclassified as "under investigation", so the total number of confirmed cases remains unchanged.[19]
  7. ^ Two new cases were reported on 24 November, and one previously confirmed case was reclassified as "historical". Therefore the overall number of cases in New Zealand increased by only one.[20]
  8. ^ The testing data is reported with prioritised ethnicity. If a person has multiple ethnicities, they are reported only as a single ethnicity with the following order of precedence: Māori, Pacific, Asian, Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, Other, European. This is in contrast to total response ethnicity, where a person with multiple ethnicities is reported under all ethnic groups they identify with.[543]
  9. ^ The number of active cases is the number of total confirmed and probable cases minus the number of recoveries and deaths.

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