At the end of last year, the New Zealand Government announced it had a resurgence plan in place to manage any community cases over summer. With the revelation of a community case in Northland this plan is of great importance. So, what does the COVID-19 resurgence plan look like?
The summer holiday period has posed unique challenges in responding to an outbreak of COVID-19. Large numbers of people have travelled for holidays or seasonal work, along with more social gatherings and large events such as festivals.
On its website, the government states that New Zealanders can be reassured that the planning has been extensive and has included scenario testing and understanding the actions that might be needed, including, as a last resort, Alert Level changes.
Reduce, Ready Respond: How the government will reduce the risk or get ready for, and respond to new COVID-19 cases.
Reduce: What you can do
What you can do to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 cases:
- Turn on Bluetooth tracing in your NZ COVID Tracer app.
- Scan QR codes wherever you go.
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Stay home if you're sick and call Healthline or your doctor to see about a test.
- Travel with a 'COVID-19 kit' — soap, hand sanitiser and a face covering.
Ready: The Government toolkit
How the Government will ready its toolkit:
- Border entry measures: Managed Isolation & Quarantine, and workforce testing.
- Contact tracing: NZ COVID Tracer app/Bluetooth data and push notifications, and an on-call workforce.
- Community testing: Targeted testing of contacts, surveillance testing, pop-up stations, and an on-call workforce.
- Face coverings: Where physical distancing is not possible.
- Alert Level change: Localised with a boundary to contain the virus, or nationwide.
How the Government will respond if resurgence happens:
Phase 1: Assessment
Community case confirmed and transmission risk assessed.
Phase 2: Immediate response
If needed, the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Resurgence Plan and National Resurgence Response Plan activated. The location and extent of outbreak risk is assessed.
A central government leadership group decides if no further action is required, or monitors the situation, or activates response system.
Phase 3: Sustained response
If the response system is activated, a team of central and local government, iwi and community leaders work with local Civil Defence and Emergency Management to manage the outbreak, including:
- the immediate public health response
- care for vulnerable people and communities
- supporting businesses
You can download the full resurgence plan here.