Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern answers Kiwis' self-isolation questions

Jacinda Ardern has answered Kiwis' self-isolation questions as the country enters week two of the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The Prime Minister hosted a Facebook livestream on Tuesday where she gave an update on the Government's coronavirus response, as well as taking the time to answer questions. 

On Wednesday last week New Zealand was placed at alert level 4, meaning only essential businesses can keep operating. It also means non-essential workers can only leave the house to go to the supermarket, doctors or for exercise nearby. 

During the livestream, Ardern focused on 'frequently asked questions' about self-isolation. 

Are the police checking on people who have returned from overseas and are in self-isolation?

Police are carrying out random spot checks on people who have recently returned to the country to ensure they are properly isolating during the lockdown.

Ardern said spot checks have been happening for some time, but they have been "beefed up". 

"We are asking police to do those more frequently for people who have arrived more recently. The [border checks] have definitely increased. As well as how stringent we are including quarantining people at the border...that has escalated significantly because that is our highest risk area," she said. 

Ardern said as of a couple of days ago, over 1000 people have been placed in hotels because they don't have sufficient self-isolation plans. The others are getting random spot checks to ensure they're following the rules. 

Why can't we come down harder on people breaking the lockdown rules? 

The "vast majority of people are following the lockdown rules", according to the Prime Minister.  

"For those who aren't, we want to remind them of what is expected of them because not everyone will be deliberately breaking the rules, some won't have the understanding of what's required of them."

Ardern said the first port of call for police will be educating people about the rules. 

However, she said the police can warn and arrest people if they continue to flout the rules. 

Ardern also reminded people not to call 111 to report lockdown breakers, instead urging them to email 

If I am self-isolating alone can I buddy up with someone else who is also alone?

People who are on their own are allowed to buddy up with another person but that has to be the only other person they're interacting with. 

"If you are buddied up with someone that has to be it. That has to be your bubble, that individual cannot be engaging with other people and nor can you. You must stay faithful to each other," Ardern said on Tuesday. 

Can I still have a funeral if a loved one dies? 

If someone who is in your household dies, you can go to the funeral director with other members of your household. 

However, the Prime Minister said if someone outside of your household/bubble dies you can't. Ardern acknowledged that this is "heartbreaking" for many people. 

"I have had a couple of messages that have just broken my heart to read what people are going through," she said. 

"This is something that I have found one of the most devastating about this period."

Am I allowed to help deliver food to vulnerable or isolated people in my community?

The Government is encouraging people to offer to shop for vulnerable people in their community.

"Our supermarkets are working very hard to prioritise delivery for those groups but in the meantime do reach out," Ardern urged. 

What happens if I share custody of my child? 

Parents can continue sharing custody but they must not have contact with anyone else. 

"People with shared care arrangements, that becomes your bubble, between the two caregivers who have shared care," Ardern said. 

Can I buy heaters and blankets during lockdown? 

At the very start of the lockdown, everything apart from essential services were closed. However, the Government recently expanded the criteria allowing for certain retailers to open online to provide household items. 

"You can now do that [buy those essential items] online. We have allowed those online retailers who are providing things like heating, blankets and essential whiteware options to be open and selling those." 

How do I get my WOF during the lockdown?

The Prime Minister said while we are at alert level 4, if your car's warrant of fitness runs out it will still be deemed current. 

"So that is the way we will be operating for now but expect more on that soon. For now... if your warrant of fitness has expired and you're using it to go to the doctors or the supermarket it will still be covered," Ardern said.