Plans for re-spread of Covid in New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a week long break from media conferences but was back yesterday, giving a lengthy speech. The key points made were on plans for what will happen if Covid-19 spreads in the community again – this is probably inevitable sooner or later.

She promoted the Government tracer app, but that has been a bit of a fizzer, and now with most people not bothering to use any tracer app.

The Alert Level system will remain, but if there are any new outbreaks Alert Level lockdowns could be applied in a regional or local basis.

Her speech:

Today I am setting out our plan in the event we have a new case of community transmission of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

I will take a bit of time to do that…

She did. eventually:

So in the event of new community cases we would move immediately to implement our “Stamp it Out” approach again.

There are two key things to remember.

Firstly, the simple approach of limiting the ability for the virus to move from human to human to break the chain of transmission remains the foundation of our response no matter what.

That’s why our key public health measures remain important for protecting ourselves and each other from the spread of disease. They are:

  • wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • don’t go to work, socialise, or be out in public if you are sick
  • Keep a digital diary of your whereabouts by downloading and using the COVID Tracer app.

These principles are key to the second ongoing tool in our response.

Rapid contact tracing, testing, and use of isolation and quarantine for those exposed to COVID. That is why the Covid tracer app, and whatever other means of recording where you have been remains vital. Every time you step into the world I want you to ask this question “if I come into contact with COVID today, how will I know, and how will others know”.

If you are in or near a situation of community transmission this will be an exceptionally important tool for contact tracing, and for finding you.

The Government tracer app has been a bit if a fizzer. It was released late, as the public had largely moved on from being in isolation. I used a different tracer app (which was available earlier) a handful of times and then didn’t bother, from about when the Government app became available. I haven’t seen anyone using the apps for a month or more.

From the Ministry of Health yesterday:

  • NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 596,000 registrations.
  • The number of posters created is 77,928.
  • The number of poster scans to date is 1,428,943.

The number of registrations is low and going up slowly. On average each person registered has only used it 3 times, which suggests that most are hardly or not using it.

Alert levels may be applied locally:

The alert level system and framework remains in place. But in the event of cases, rather than apply the framework nationally, we would look to apply our Alert Level system at a localised or regional level in the first instance.

“Our ‘Stamp it Out’ approach is scenario specific meaning that our actions will depend on the severity of the situation.

…there are three broad starting scenarios we can plan around.

1. A case or a number of cases in a community.

We would be looking at applying strong restrictions but only applied locally in a neighbourhood, town or city to contain the virus and stopping it spread.

2. A larger number of cases or cluster in a region

Here, a significant increase in testing would be the priority. We would look to undertake much wider community testing, on top of testing any contacts or potential contact of those with the virus.

We would also take steps to stop the spread to other parts of the country so a regional shift in Alert Level would likely be applied that restricted travel. This would mean travel in or out of the city, town or region could be stopped, people in that place asked to work from home, and local restrictions on gatherings implemented.

3. Multiple clusters that have spread nationally

In this scenario we would most likely apply a nationwide increase in Alert Level to stop transmission.

So that is a significant change, but if it can be managed effectively on a local or regional basis it makes sense.

From the Covid website

Click to access Stamp-it-Out-one-pager.pdf


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  1. Gerrit

     /  16th July 2020

    It is starting to feel a bit control freak creepy this lock down talk and people tracing. Will be interesting to see how successful the second lockdown in Melbourne is going to be controlled. First week a lot of a huge level of control was bought in to stamp out errant behaviour. How long can the state resources last to maintain it?

    Same in New Zealand, how many resources are available to maintain control for a second or even a third lockdown?

    As seen by the BLM marches, the state has no actual control, only the goodwill of the people, to maintain isolation. How much will society take to being in constant lock down before finally breaks down completely?

    What would the reaction be from the populace if martial law was declared and maintained until by some time in the far distant future, a vaccine is found and democracy is returned?

    • NOEL

       /  16th July 2020

      Until Democracy has returned?
      Geez we have an election around the corner.
      All challenges to the pandemic regulations have been dismissed by the Courts.
      Nah bullshit!

    • Why did they not do the local lockdowns, which they were going to do according to the PM, rather than the drastic one with the damage it’s known to have caused ? She ignored the advice to test and isolate at the border until it was too late, then decided to ignore ‘science and evidence’ in favour of ‘instinct’. Instinct can be a very false friend; it makes people try to swim out of currents, lie down and sleep in the snow and outrun wild animals !!!

      I am tired of the bleats about how those opposed only wanted to make money, put money ahead of people’s lives, were only thinking of themselves, blah blah blah.

  2. David

     /  16th July 2020

    She clearly has no faith in the inept job her ministers are doing and is prepping for the inevitable stuff up.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th July 2020

    Why don’t they use the contact tracing app that has been successful overseas? Because there isn’t one?

  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  16th July 2020

    The PM knows damn well our Gold-Standard Border Control and Quarantine is not up to scratch…
    she also knows we are about to have an influx of folks to attend Brenton Tarrant’s sentencing, and I doubt that they will all be doing a 2-week quarantine stint in NZ before the sentencing date.

    • They will; they won’t have a choice.

      I am very tired of being told to wash my hands, which I have known to do since I was a small child.I sneeze into a tissue if I can.

      The don’t go out if you’re feeling unwell makes it sound as if everyone who is has Covid. I have bad sinus trouble at the moment, which makes me feel tired and not well. It’s quite safe, no one can catch it from me. And it won’t turn into Covid. Should people with things like this be in isolation ?


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