New Zealand is ready for Level 1


When New Zealand went to Level 2 on 14 May 2020 I had no idea how it was going to go. The occasional COVID19 case was still occurring. There were a number of people still in hospital and the death toll had a few more people to claim. I thought I would show a screen shot of an Excel spreadsheet that I set up on the day of the first confirmed case.

A brief explanation of the Excel table below: White = Total cases; Dark Yellow = Confirmed new cases; Light Yellow = Probable new cases; Green = Cases recovered; Orange = Cases hospitalized; Red = Deaths

The row selected is 14 May 2020, the third of three days with no new cases before three consecutive days with 1 new case. This is part of a larger spreadsheet going back to the start of February and which will be concluded when there are no active cases (and hopefully one more in the Recovered column).

COVID data based on Ministry of Health figures (daily media releases).

COVID19 incubation takes 11-14 days to occur. New Zealand has now gone 12 consecutive days without a new case. There is only one active case nation wide and that case is not in hospital. Official advice was that 28 days of no new cases is needed before New Zealand can go to Level 1.

When we reach Level 1, pretty much all restrictions other than international travel will be lifted. Sporting fixtures, concerts, weddings, funerals, large functions will all be able to resume without social distancing, attendance limits

If Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes the decision to go to Level 1 on Monday, I understand it could take effect as early as Wednesday, 10 June 2020.

Then it is just a matter of making sure that the final victim recovers fully; that we have an inquiry into the COVID19 response with the Government implementing the recommendations from it and waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

I think this would be a sensible compromise. Whilst 28 day caution is admirable, it is excessive in this case given that it is in a country separated in to two main islands, plus Stewart Island and the Chathams. That one of the two main islands has been completely COVID19 free for a week now just further undermines the case for continuing.

With Level 1, I hope though that some sensible permanent measures, which I have already mentioned before are enacted:

  1. Medical certificates become compulsory for everyone who has been sick entering/leaving New Zealand
  2. Sanitization of hands upon entry to any bar, cafe, restaurant; medical facility becomes compulsory and permanent – having sanitizer and signage becomes part of the prerequisites for compliance
  3. The number of paid sick days permitted each year rises to say 7 or 10 – noting the cost to employers, but recognizing that bringing additional staff down sick might be costlier still