The Government's nationwide campaign, 'Make Summer Unstoppable', has been officially launched by COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins on Sunday during day three of the Blackcaps' test match against the West Indies.
Hipkins fronted a media briefing at Wellington's Basin Reserve at 1:10pm to mark the introduction of the campaign, with the new television ads premiering on the stadium's screens shortly after.
'Make Summer Unstoppable' will reinforce the importance of keeping the coronavirus out of the community over the summer months, Hipkins said, promoting the basic public health measures Kiwis have adopted under New Zealand's 'new normal'.
These basics include:
- maintaining good hand hygiene
- scanning QR codes and enabling the Bluetooth feature on the NZ COVID Tracer app
- remaining at home when unwell
- seeking advice from a GP or Healthline on COVID-19 testing when presenting cold or flu-like symptoms.
"Whether it's days at the cricket, at the beach or at the backyard barbie with whānau and friends, we all want to be able to enjoy this summer without the interruption of COVID-19," Hipkins said in a statement on Sunday.
"We've all got a part to play to bring on an 'unstoppable summer'. Everyone can make a difference by continuing with the basic health steps that have allowed us to hold back the virus so far.
"This isn't a new message - it's what we've been saying all year - but summer travel creates additional challenges, so we all need to be extra vigilant."
Hipkins noted the significant spike in cases during Thanksgiving in the United States, with Americans facilitating the spread of the virus by travelling around the country to spend time with loved ones.
"We don't want that to happen here," Hipkins said.
"Christmas and the holiday season is a time of the year when people come together socially more often; there are more large-scale events; and people move around the country in bigger numbers.
"That's why our focus to 'Make Summer Unstoppable' is all about reminding and motivating everyone to keep doing the easy, everyday actions which will keep us free of COVID-19. This campaign says let's keep at it."
During the media briefing, Hipkins added that the Government is working through a number of scenarios as part of its planning for a potential summer resurgence, including the possibility of an outbreak affecting the air bridges currently open between New Zealand and select Australian states.
Although there is no target number for testing over the summer, Hipkins said it's expected that figures will drop as Kiwis enjoy their break. However, the COVID-19 response team will be ensuring that critical testing among border workers will remain high.
Despite looking forward to a well-deserved break over the holiday period, Hipkins will still be actively monitoring the situation.
"I'm hoping I'll be able to have some time at the beach as well, but I'll be keeping a close eye on it," he said.