Ardern confirms full 4 week lockdown, uncertain after that

In a media conference today Jacinda Ardern confirmed what seemed obvious, the initial lockdown period of 4 weeks is the minimum, but gave only general ideas of what might happen from there.

RNZ Live Covid-19 updates:

PM doesn’t want New Zealand to be at level 4 any longer than needed but there is no plan to lift it earlier than the four weeks it’s set out for.

All actions we have taken to date are to minimise the amount of time we are at level four, she says.

We are determined to make sure that we stamp out Covid-19. That means broader testing and in particular surveillance testing, more and faster contact tracing and strong enforcement of the lockdown rules and border controls.

PM says country be at level 4 for four weeks because it takes time for symptoms to be seen and some people may have passed on Covid-19 before the lockdown and those symptoms will only just be starting to be seen now.

Because of the time lag in the virus “rearing its head” the PM says four weeks is necessary at level four lockdown.

PM says we need to be absolutely sure we’re not missing ‘silent outbreaks’ and this is why surveillance testing is important.

Four weeks of lockdown is so important – “we need to stay the course”.

Down the track some regions may experience outbreak while others aren’t. That means New Zealand needs to have the flexibility to move between the alert levels in different parts of the country once lockdown lifts.

On quarantines:

On whether there should be mandatory quarantine of all overseas New Zealanders returning, the PM says she’s already asked for this work to be done.

She says the country will only continue to see border controls ramp up but the government needs to make sure whatever is done can be sustained for a long time.

PM says, as soon as we’re ready you’ll hear me say more about it.