Coronavirus: Ministry of Health 'thinking seriously' about what move to alert level 1 could look like

A four-day run of no new COVID-19 infections in New Zealand bodes well for some key decisions coming up, the Director-General of Health says.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the Ministry of Health is in a good position to advise Cabinet on Monday about whether group numbers could be expanded.

"It is very encouraging and we should all feel encouraged by that," he told reporters on Thursday. 

He said it also allows thought to begin about what a move to alert level 1 would look like.

"The key thing here is - again - we've had quite a high number of tests being done of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people," Dr Bloomfield said. "We just increasingly are confident that there aren't these hidden pockets out there.

"That really, then, does allow us to think seriously about what a move to alert level 1 would look like."

Just one person is in hospital in New Zealand as a result of COVID-19 while 97 percent of cases have now recovered.

The Cabinet will review the current social gathering limit on Monday. Under alert level 2, limits are capped at 10 people.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: The AM Show

Dr Bloomfield said all the indications were positive.

"It's a really good outcome - we are increasingly confident that we have successfully broken that chain of transmission."  

He said New Zealand was in a good position to also think about how the border could be opened cautiously with Australia.

"We've got an ever stronger focus on ensuring our border is robust and our measures there but also a focus on how we might put in place the systems and processes that would allow us to start opening [the border] cautiously with Australia and potentially beyond."