Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern to announce new details of COVID-19 Alert Level 2, Level 3

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to release more details on Thursday about what COVID-19 Alert Level 2 and Alert Level 3 will look like for New Zealand, she confirmed on Monday.

During the daily COVID-19 update, Ardern said while the Government remains focused on "shutting down the pathways for the virus to spread through testing and rigorous contact tracing", this week will also see the release of more information regarding each of the Alert Levels.

Ardern reiterated that New Zealand is "definitely not in a position to move out of Level 4 early" and when it is safe to move to Level 3, significant restrictions will remain in place.

"Think of it as a waiting room which allows a bit more activity to occur," she told reporters. 

On Tuesday, the Treasury will release a series of economic scenarios outlining the potential economic impacts of COVID-19 on unemployment, GDP and the ability for the economy to recover. Its weekly update will also be expanded to include additional indicators of economic activity.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson will address Business NZ in an online speech. He will discuss how the impact of lockdown on local businesses will be cushioned, as well as the revised approach to the Budget 2020.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister will release further details of what Level 3 and Level 2 will look like beyond the framework set out in the Alert Table

"[This will provide] more detail for businesses, transport, health, recreation and education," Ardern announced. 

'One case can become many'

Ardern also warned New Zealanders not to get complacent in the fight against the virus. The country's fifth death, a man in his eighties, was announced during Monday's update. The Prime Minister says the growing death toll serves as "a timely reminder".

"[Today's death] is a timely reminder that our battle with this virus is far from over. While overall case numbers have continued to fall, even one case can become many. Our clusters have shown that the simple act of coming together for a social occasion... can lead to more than 80 cases, as we have seen," she declared.

"And even more deadly is if the virus reaches people in vulnerable communities, like rest homes and aged-care facilities, where three of our five deaths have occurred. 

"Our number of cases may be small, but that does not mean we have been successful in hunting this virus down. One positive can be indicative of other cases in the community... we are definitely not in a position to move out of Level 4 early."

She also had a stern word for the rule-breakers this long weekend.

"I say to those who broke the rules this weekend: it could take one case amongst you to have an outbreak that could lead to dozens of infections and possibly death. New Zealand does not take this challenge lightly and nor should you. 

"We cannot be complacent. Behind one case can sit others."

Nineteen new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Monday, 15 of which have been confirmed, bringing the total of confirmed and probable cases to 1349. Four people are in the ICU, one in a critical condition. 

New Zealand's fifth death was a man from the Rosewood Rest Home and Hospital in Christchurch, marking the facility's third virus-related death.