Alert Level Flexibility is the Key: That Means Down as Well as Up

The New Zealand Government has this afternoon taken the decision to lower the Alert Level of the Auckland Region to Level 2, and down to Level 1 in the rest of the country from later tonight. Auckland’s Level 2 will be reviewed further on Monday.

Many people will be relieved.

The fact that most children will be able to go back to school, and people can head back to as much of their routines as will work under Level 2 will be welcomed.

However, for some there will be lingering worries.

Is this really the right move? What if the tests that we are waiting for indicate that there are more positive cases?

The Government has judged that the conditions are controlled enough for them to be confident that even if new cases emerge, there is a high chance that they will be linked to known cases, and that control measures already in place will be enough to manage this outbreak. Given this judgement on health advice, they have used the flexibility in the Alert Level system to enable as much of a return to normal life as possible.

This flexibility is crucial.

The danger is when we are faced with threat that we become rigid and react based on emotions, rather than a dispassionate assessment of the facts. And though the conditions surrounding this decision can be interpreted differently, and that these may be contested, the decision has been made.

For those who are fearful, this Alert level move will be challenging. It will require all in Auckland to truly act in accordance to the Guidance of Level 2 behaviours, and not skip back to Level 1.

Level 2 means Level 2. Resist the urge to act as if this is all over.

The threat is judged to have lessened but not vanished.

If you are unwell:
If you’re sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school. Do not socialise.
If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline and get advice about being tested.
If you have been told to self-isolate you legally must do so immediately.

It’s important that you use basic hygiene measures, including washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow and cleaning surfaces.

Use the QR code scanning app

You should keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen. This helps with rapid contact tracing if it’s required.

Keep your distance when outside your home. You should keep a distance of at least: 2 metres in public and in retail stores, like supermarkets and clothes shops, and 1 metre in most other places like workplaces, cafes, restaurants and gyms.

At Alert Level 2 the risk of COVID-19 being present in the community is higher.

You legally must wear a face covering on public transport and on domestic flights and are encouraged to wear face coverings in situations where physical distancing is not possible, like in shops.

Go well out there and stay safe.

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