COVID-19 media update, 4 April

News article

04 April 2020

The All of Government COVID-19 National Response provided an update at 1.00 pm today.

View video of the media briefing below.

Update summary

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed there are 52 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 30 new probable cases. The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 950, 82 more than yesterday. Further details are in today’s media release.

A public health notice has been issued under s 70(1)(f) of the Health Act 1956 which clarifies the expectations for people around self-isolation under the Level 4 Alert and clarifies the situation under which Police powers can be exercised to ensure we get high levels of compliance. The notice under scores the fact that what we are all responding to is a major threat to public health in New Zealand and it underscores what we can do collectively to address that threat. It makes it really clear what is appropriate and not to help our collective efforts. The key test when people go to do something is to think “What are we trying to achieve here? To stop the transmission and break the chain of COVID-19.” If people need to drive a short distance in their local area to get to a place of recreation, and that may be necessary for some people, that is fine.

Dr Bloomfield said there may be a drop in testing over the weekend because people are less likely to go out, even in normal circumstances, to seek care. There may be reduced hours for some Community Based Assessment Centres (CBACs) but testing is still available everywhere it is required over the weekend. All district health boards (DHBs) have been asked to stand up their CBACs from this weekend to ensure there is clear availability of testing right through the week, on each day of the week. Lab capacity is continuing to increase

 Face masks

Director of PublicHealth Dr Caroline McElnay said we are watching very closely the advice expected in the next couple of days from the WHO and the CDC around whether or not people should wear face masks when out and about to limit the spread of the virus from people who are infected but not showing symptoms. The best advice at the moment is that basic hygiene measures such as frequent hand-washing, physical distancing and sneeze and cough etiquette remain the mainstay in our defense against COVID-19.

There are ways in which wearing a mask can be helpful but there are also ways in which it could be harmful. We know that in some countries it’s common practice for people who are unwell to wear a mask when they go out. That’s a good practice that protects other people but there is also some evidence that wearing a mask can also do harm, such as when it leads to people touching their face more often because of the discomfort of wearing a mask.

That can increase the risk of contamination to your hand and give you a false sense of security. We acknowledge these kinds of conversations are important. Any face masks worn by the community at large would have to be right at the bottom of our strategies for containment of COVID-19 based on the information we have about the effectiveness of strategies. We would continue to reiterate physical distancing and hand hygiene as the essential platforms on which we are building our preventative approach. Dr Bloomfield said the USA was in a very different situation to New Zealand at the moment as they have widespread infections and community transmission and a much lower rate of access to testing.

He considered that was partly why the USA was advising the use of face coverings – but New Zealand was not in that position. New Zealand had acted much faster than the USA with much more stringent controls, much more strict self-isolation.

Alert Levels

Dr Bloomfield said our Alert Level 4 controls are the most effective strategies to put in place, and New Zealand has put those in place in advance of any other country. We continue to look at whether, in Alert Level 4, or when we move out of Alert Level 4, the use of masks may be part of an overall approach. Advice will be provided to Cabinet in coming days on factors that might determine a change to the current Alert Level.

Testing

Dr Bloomfield said the main reason we had not yet reached our testing capacity was that we had more capacity than needed at the moment – and that was very deliberate. New Zealand’s testing capacity, on a per capita basis, is among the highest level in the world. We also want to keep some capacity for our surveillance programme, which is being finalised.

Some surveillance of communities may be done to see if there is infection present and advice would be sought from epidemiologists. Surveillance may include randomised testing of households to see if there are any asymptomatic people in communities. That will help inform decisions about moving between levels.

Dr McElnay said in order to do serology testing to looalert levelsk for people in the community who had antibodies for COVID-19, a very good and reliable test would be needed and we don’t have that yet. At present there were unlikely to be enough people in the community with antibodies because New Zealand did not have a high level of the disease.

Case numbers and data

Dr Bloomfield said that over the past four or five days there had been effectively a flattening of the number of new cases, at the same time as there had been a much higher level of testing. He said it was encouraging that the test positivity rate had dropped. He said it may be that cases were peaking but it would be another two or three days before that was confirmed.

Dr McElnay said that despite the number of lab tests doubling there had not really been any increase in new cases and that gave confidence and assurance that our COVID-19 level is likely to be very low across the community.

Elective surgeries

Dr Bloomfield said data was being collected on elective surgeries being deferred or cancelled. Once the country was out of Alert Level 4 -and the aim was to do that as soon as possible – we would want to get people back for the surgery they need. DHBs are gearing up for how they might do that in an Alert Level 3-type situation. He said thousands of surgeries might have been paused and put on hold, but DHBs were working on plans to use both private and public sector capacity to get people into surgery as soon as possible.

Hospital space

Dr Bloomfield said every hospital has a plan about how to create additional space, or ring-fence space for treating people with COVID-19 infections., and these depend on the size and configuration of each hospital.

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Kia ora koutou katoa. Welcome to today's media update, I have with me today the Director of Public Health, and she will be making some comments about face masks and one or two other matters once I have finished.

So, today we have a total of 82 new cases of COVID-19. 50 of those are confirmed cases, and 32 - sorry, 52 are confirmed, and 30 are probable. So, 52 confirmed cases and 30 probable. There are no additional deaths to report. And we can now confirm that 127 reported cases have recovered from COVID-19. So, the total of confirmed and combined cases now in New Zealand is 950, and as I said earlier, that's 82 more than yesterday. Overnight we have fewer people in hospital with COVID-19, and today there are 10 in hospitals around the country, including one person in the ICU at Wellington Regional Hospital. All patients are in a stable condition.

From our laboratory testing numbers, we can report the 7-day rolling average has increased to 2,264 per day. Yesterday we did the highest number of single tests in a day. That was 3,631. So, our total of COVID-19 tests completed to date is 33,116. And we now have capacity to do, should we need to, over 6,000 tests per day around the country. We are continuing to grow our supply and stocks of key components used in the lab process, and that includes swabs. So, altogether we have more than 100,000 nasal and throat swabs in stock, and enough componentry for the full process for lab testing for 37,000 tests in the country, and supply is coming all the time from overseas and from inside New Zealand to continue our testing capacity. There is a high demand for nasal swabs, and our local manufacturer is ramping up production, with 300,000 swabs due over the next three to four weeks.

For the cases we have information on, there remains a strong link to overseas travel. That is now at 47%. As well as links to confirmed cases in New Zealand - 34%. We still have a small number, around 1%, of cases that we have concluded are a result of community transmission, but we have around 17% still being investigated. And as I've said earlier, in the last couple of days they may well transpire to be community transmission.

We have 10 significant clusters, and there will be an update on our website around the clusters, but just the numbers for the three that are the largest, are in Auckland, around the Marist School. The total number there is 60 cases. The second biggest is the one associated with a wedding in Bluff, and that has 55 cases. And the third is the one in Matamata, which has a total of 54 cases now confirmed - Matamata.

I'd like to just talk about the issuing of a section 71F NTC under the Health Act 1956, when I issued yesterday. And there's a copy of that notice on the COVID-19.govt.nz website. Now, essentially the purpose of issuing this notice is to provide greater clarity for everybody about what the expectations are around self-isolation, as we are in Alert Level 4. Now, what we've seen over the last week is a very, very high level of understanding and compliance with those expectations. There have been a few areas where there have been questions over the week, and the purpose of the notice is to provide clarification for people about what is expected under an Alert Level 4 lockdown situation. So, the notice covers in some detail what those expectations are, and it includes, really, a good description of what an acceptable bubble-type arrangement is as well.

We also know, over this first week, or so, of the lockdown that there have been some people who haven't been - it's a small minority - but they haven't been following the guidance and the expectations. And so the notice sets out the rules for what's expected of everybody, and therefore clarifies the situations in which police powers may be exercised to ensure that we get that high level of compliance.

And, again, this is a public health notice. It underscores the fact that what we are all responding to is a major threat to public health in New Zealand, and it clarifies what the expectations are on every New Zealander to ensure that we can collectively address that threat, and, where necessary, that the police have really clear basis on which to act to enforce that. I'm going to hand over to Dr Macklenay now to make a few comments.

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: Thanks, Ashley. I want to update you on our technical advisory group, which met yesterday. And one of the things that they discussed was the case definition. The Technical Advisory Group updated the definition of a case of COVID-19 to separate the respiratory symptoms from any travel history or known contact with a confirmed or probable case. Testing will now be available for people with respiratory problems, suggestive of COVID-19, regardless of their travel history or contact with a confirmed or probable case, and fever is no longer a requirement.

The Technical Advisory Group also re-discussed recovery, and there has been no change to our recovery definition. An individual with COVID-19 can be released from isolation when at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms and at least 48 hours of being symptom-free. A negative test is not required for an individual in isolation at home, although in some circumstances a test may be done at the discretion of the clinician where the patient has been in hospital.

I want to just talk about face masks. We are watching very closely the advice that we expect to get in the next few days from WHO and CDC around whether or not people should wear face masks when out and about, to limit the spread of virus from people who are infected but not showing symptoms. The best advice at the moment is that basic hygiene measures, such as frequent hand washing, physical distancing, and sneeze and cough etiquette, remain the mainstay of our defence against COVID-19. There are ways in which wearing a mask can be helpful, but there are also ways in which it could be harmful. We know that in some countries it's common practice when people who are unwell to wear a mask when they go out. That's a good practice that protects other people. But there is also some evidence that wearing a mask can also do harm, such as when it leads to people touching their face more often because of the discomfort with wearing a mask, and that can actually increase the risk of contamination to your hand, and it also give you a false sense of security. But we acknowledge that these kinds of conversations are important, and we do already have some resources about face masks on our website.

And, lastly, on Healthline, a reminder that Healthline continues to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The work the team has done to increase capacity of the services means that wait times are much less. They're, on average, about five minutes. Healthline handled 14,746 calls yesterday, and continues to be a popular service for people concerned about their health.

Related to this, we are, however, also seeing a trend in both primary care and Healthline of people with other health issues leaving it too long to see their doctor or call Healthline because they're concerned that the focus should be on COVID-19. I want to reiterate that we have the capacity to provide appropriate care, so people with health issues should act sooner rather than later. Please continue to contact your GP and continue to ring Healthline. Thank you.

 >> Would you expect testing to drop away over the weekend, as it did last?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: There may well be a drop in testing over the weekend, partly because we find people are less likely to go out, even in normal circumstances, to seek care over the weekend. But also there may be reduced hours for the CBACs. But still there is testing available anywhere and everywhere it is required over the weekend

 >> The Prime Minister talked about trying to achieve more consistency around that. Has any work gone into trying to achieve that?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Well, one of the things that's gone into achieving that is continuing to increase our lab capacity around the country. So, again, the capacity is good. And, secondly, we have been asking all DHBs to stand up their CBACs from this weekend to ensure that there is clear availability of testing right through the week on each day of the week.

 >> How likely is it that New Zealanders will be recommended at some point to wear cloth face masks, as is now being done in America?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Caroline, do you want to respond?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: As I said, we're waiting to see what the advice is from WHO particularly on that point. But any face masks worn by the community at large would have to be right at the very bottom of our strategies for containment of COVID-19, based on the information that we've got about the effectiveness of those strategies. And we would continue to reiterate the physical distancing and the hand hygiene as the essential platform that we're building our preventative approach on.

 >> The WHO, though, is now, in the last couple of days, saying, yes, face masks are one element of how we can help with disease.

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: Yes.

 >> This virus, I'm sorry. Shouldn't we be telling the public that?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: WHO are doing further consideration as to exactly what message they would give out, and that's what we're waiting to see what they say.

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: And just a comment on that particular issue. Recall that the USA is in a very different situation from what New Zealand is in at the moment. They have clearly widespread infections, and widespread community transmission. They have a much lower rate of access to testing. And so that's partly why they've I think gone to advising the use of face covering, because they have much wider infections across the community. We're not in that position. However, we continue to look at whether, either in Alert Level 4, or when we move out of Alert Level 4, the use of masks may be part of our overall approach.

 >> Isn't that the point, though? We don't want to get to the point that America has got to?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Well, exactly. And that's why we acted much faster than America with much more stringent controls, much more strict self-isolation and home isolation, so we don't get into that position.

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: Our Level 4 controls are the most effective strategies to put in place, and New Zealand has put those in place in advance of any other country.

 >> Can you confirm that two staff members at the Middle more Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: No, I can't. I don't want have details on that.

 >> What percentage of the total cases are made up of Māori and Pasifika people?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Actually, I don't have the latest breakdown on the ethnicity data. I do know yesterday we were looking at it, and we have had an approach from Māori academics to make sure we are collecting ethnicity data correctly. If it's not on our website, we will get the latest breakdown on our website.

 >> How many community-based assessment centres are there now around the country? Do you want or need more?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Have you got that information, Caroline?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: Um...

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: We're up over 60, I think.

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: That's right. We have over 60. And these are designated CBACs. But we've also got designated general practices. We've got a widespread distribution of testing and we have been looking at that to make sure that that is available in every part of the country, and there's a very good spread.

 >> Do you want more of them?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: We want to make sure that people have access to testing, and if that means that we need some more, then certainly those will be the discussions with the DHBs.

 >> Apart from the weekend drop-off, is there any other reasons why we aren't hitting our capacity?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: The main reason we're not hitting our capacity is because we've got more capacity than we need to do testing at the moment. And that's very deliberate. So, our capacity is very much amongst, on a per capita basis, the highest level in the world. And we also want to keep some capacity there for our surveillance programme, which we're just finalising, because we know we may wish to do some surveillance of communities to see if there is infection there. That will help inform decisions about moving between levels.

 >> Randomised testing of communities?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: We would get advice from epidemiologists on what sort of testing we would do there. That may be, yes, randomised testing of households, just to see if there were any asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people in communities.

 >> How can you force those tests on people? They're quite invasive.

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: We don't have legal powers, no.

 >> There have been reports of people continuing to surf out at the beach up in Auckland. What's your advice for people that are continuing to do this?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: I think the Section 70 Notice makes it really clear about what is appropriate and not appropriate to help our collective efforts here. I think people know that. We've got a message on our website and through other media channels that says "surf the Internet, not the sea at the moment". And I think that message is clear. So, I would ask anyone who's doing that, or other activities we have been clear about that people should steer clear of at the moment.

 >> Does that include swimming and kayaking as well?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: I'm not sure if it's at that level of detail. These have been rehearsed very well over the last week. I think the message is really clear about what people should or shouldn't be doing. The key test for this is, when people go to do something, whether it's to go out to the shop or for some physical activity, is to think about, "What are we trying to achieve here? To stop the transmission and break the chain of COVID-19."

 >> The notice, it says an outdoor place that can be readily accessioned from their residence?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: It may be walking or cycling from your front door. But if you need to drive a short distance in your local area to get to a place of recreation, and that may be necessary for some people, that is fine.

 >> More details about the factors which would determine a drop out of Alert Level 4?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Not yet. That work is ongoing and we will be providing advice to Cabinet in coming days on that.

 >> On the other side, do you have a plan, if you need to increase restrictions? Say, there was a sudden spike?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: If there was a sudden spike, we would look at exactly where that was happening. You can see at the moment, over the last few days, we are not seeing that spike, despite a very big increase in testing. And we're going to watch that closely over the next few days. Caroline, did you want to comment?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: No, that's right. We are monitoring the daily cases each day. And I think that's exactly right, that with the dramatic increase that we have seen in the lab tests, which have doubled, we haven't seen - we've not seen really any increase in the new cases. And that gives us confidence and an assurance that, actually, our level of COVID-19 is likely to be very low across the community. But we need that assurance, and that's why we're doing further work to get some data to pull that together, so that we can actually say what the level of disease is in our community.

 >> You said you were briefing Cabinet on Monday. At this stage, which way are you leaning towards extending the lockdown? And what are some of the factors?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: No, I didn't say we're briefing Cabinet on Monday. I'm not leading that work. It's a whole-of-government piece of work.

 >> When?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: During the coming week.

 >> Has the government delayed mercy flights because doctors are worried about flooding the health system?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Mercy flights from overseas?

 >> Bringing Kiwis home.

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: No, that's not a factor in the decision around mercy flights.

 >> Do you have an update on the number of foreigners leaving New Zealand?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: I don't have that update. I do know that the new mechanism and the process for that happening has just really come into play over the last couple of days. But we can get some figures on what the number of people departing is, both on regular commercial flights and any of the government-sponsored flights that have come in.

 >> 70% of cases still being investigated, which many could be related to community transmission - when do you expect to have that data back?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: Well, those cases are continually being investigated, and the information being sought. So, there's a slight delay in just updating that data. But our public health units are doing that at a local level. And the definition of community transmission is an exclusion definition. So, it's only after other sources can't be determined. And what we're seeing with some cases is that, initially, there doesn't seem to be an apparent source, and then afterwards, after further contact tracing has been done, we have been able to make a link between a case who may have presented first and then one of their contacts who became a case. And then we have been able to say, "Actually, it came in from overseas." So, the first person who's reported is not necessarily the initial source of what may be a cluster. So, it does take some time to just do the detail to then be able to say, for those individuals, what was the their infection -- source of their infection.

 >> What sort of urgency are we placing on that data, given it could give us a good picture of potential community outbreak?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: Our public health units are well aware of the need for that data. And they are, in some places they're actually doing some further assessment to find out what is actually happening in that local community. If the data is not clear to them from the patients under investigation, and that all helps to be able to say what's actually going on with community transmission.

 >> What will be done for Kiwis who are desperate to get home but can't afford the expense of seats? You know, some flights from US$32,000. What are you doing to help Kiwis get home?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: So, that's something that there's an All-of-government group looking at. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade has got the lead on that. I can't comment on that at the moment.

 >> Have you organised any flights to bring Kiwis home?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: I haven't. I don't think there's been any organised yet.

 >> The case you were discussing, is that new from the one earlier this week? The fever thing...?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: Fever is one of the key ones. It's really clarity on what was issued earlier in the week, because of the main change is the removal of the travel history and the specific need to have been a contact of a confirmed case. So, it's really clarified for health professionals what clinical criteria, what symptoms to look for, and it is now with or without fever. Fever is no longer an essential symptom.

 >> Respiratory, but you said it was respiratory, linked to COVID-19. Does that mean not any respiratory issue, it means a dry cough or...?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: It is quite a broad definition. But we've purposefully done that, because we actually want to identify as many COVID-19 as possible. Hence the increase in tests. But also the fact that we're not seeing, by increasing our tests and having that wider case definition, we haven't picked up many more cases as a result. So, it's part of our plan going forward to have a better picture of what's actually happening in the community.

 >> Do you have an idea of how many elective surgeries have been cancelled or postponed so far as a result of the Government's actions?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: No, we are collecting that -- I don't. And we are collecting that data, because it's important. Once we can get out of Alert Level 4, and the aim is to do that as soon as possible, we will want to be getting people back in for the surgery they need. Our DHBs are gearing up again for how they might do that in an Alert Level 3-type situation.

 >> Hundreds or thousands at this point?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: I think it would be thousands across the country. Again, they've just been paused and put on hold. But I know the DHBs are already working on plans to use both public and private sector capacity to get those people in to get their surgery as soon as possible.

 >> Is it possible that wards in hospitals have now been only for coronavirus? Or (INAUDIBLE ICUs... QUESTION)

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: So, the warders and ICUs in the hospitals are treating people with the full range of conditions, as acute conditions, as they usually would. There has been some stories, particularly yesterday and today, about different hospitals, and what they have done to create either additional space or to essentially ring-fence space for treating people with COVID-19 infections. So, every hospital has a plan and it depends on the size and configuration of each hospital.

 >> Have you been in contact with any of your health counterparts overseas in other countries? And if so, what sort of advice are you providing to them?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: I'm not providing them advice. But we work very closely with them and share advice. Caroline, you might want to talk about that.

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: And from a Director of Public Health perspective, I'm in daily contact with my colleagues, the chief health officers of the states in Australia, and also the Chief Medical Officer there. We've got weekly correspondence with Canada in particular.

 >> On the surveillance, are you looking for a certain level of infection, or is it just a timing issue?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: I might put the question back to you, as to what you mean by the surveillance testing?

 >> Around going out into the community.

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: We haven't yet made a decision to go out into the community and do specific testing.

 >> Are you looking for a certain level or threshold to do that?

 >> CAROLINE MCELNAY: It may be something that we consider. It's more about at this moment, actually pulling all the information sources, backed up by the increased testing that is now happening, to see what the level of disease is likely to be in the community.

In order to do serology testing, which may be what you're talking b there's a couple of things we need. We need to have a very good test that we are able to use. We don't yet have a test ready to go that we would be confident in what it's saying.

But also from an epidemiology perspective, you have to be able to believe that you've got enough people in the community who would have antibodies when you do the test. And at the moment we do not think we have that level of disease across New Zealand. So, it's a phasing. It's a phasing thing, where we do this piece of work first, and then we do the plan for a more community-based survey, if that looks like it's going to provide us with useful information.

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Perhaps two more questions, please.

 >> What day are we expected to peak with new cases? And when will we know if lockdown is working?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Well, Caroline and I were talking about this earlier on. What we have seen over the last four or five days is effectively a flattening off of the number of new cases, including - and this is particularly important - over the last two or three days, with that much higher level of testing. So, we haven't seen a whole lot more cases. In fact, the test positivity rate has dropped. And that's good. It's encouraging. But I would want to see probably another two or three days before we would start to know is that definitely a flattening-off. And then if it was confirmed, we would expect then in the coming days that the number of new cases each day would continue to drop.

 >> With those two or three days, is that when you're expecting it to peak? Is that what you're saying?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Well, it may well be it's peaking now, because we're seeing it's flattening off. What we'll really be looking for is when the number of new cases each day starts to drop.

 >> Have either of you read the editorial today published in The New Zealand Medical Journal, looking at our response, and asking if there's a Plan B if the lockout fails?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Right, so I got asked this question earlier in the week about Plan B and I said the plan is the plan. We have a very good plan. But it's like a game plan in a rugby match. You have a plan, and then you have to keep updating it and responding to emerging evidence, to the information you are guesting from your own country, and here, because we've got good levels of testing happening, that's providing us with really good information.

So, we're increasingly confident that these lockdown measures are working. And the reason we went early and harder than most countries - just about every other country - with that very strict Alert Level 4 lockdown was because not only did we think that that was the best for protecting the health and safety of New Zealanders, we felt that was the best for protecting the economic impact as well. Yes, it's a very hard shock, but if you look at other countries that have not gone so early, you get this major, major impact on their healthcare system, you get this major societal impact, and you get the same, if not worse, economic impact.

So, we're continuing to stick to, and adjust our plan, as we go forward. We're looking at the evidence constantly, we're looking at the experience from countries that are being more successful, and those that are being less successful, to inform what we do and how we adjust our plan.

 >> Possible home (INAUDIBLE isolation... QUESTION) Is that something you would see as feasible as you adapt the plan?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: I don't think we need to think about that yet. As we are seeing, the number of cases does seem to be levelling off. We have been, right from early on, very concerned about, and very clear on our advice to people over 60 or older people, that they are ones who are at most risk of serious illness or death, and therefore have the most to gain from being protected and self-isolating. Final question.

 >> (INAUDIBLE QUESTION) Are we likely to see that soon, or rolled out in a couple of days?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: Yes, I'm very keen so see that. It's one of the things I want to follow up over the weekend. I hope early next week we'll be able to provide accurate data about ethnicity.

 >> Are you confident that police have enough power to actually enforce the lockdown. It showed they only had the power to enter properties to ensure lockdowns if they reasonable believe someone had COVID-19?

 >> ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: If you look at the Section 70 Notice that I've issued, it's really clear about what the expectations are on people and what the powers are of both medical officers of health and of the police to be able to enforce the current arrangements. So, yes, I do think police have enough powers. But, again, actually, that will just be a small adjunct to the high level of compliance and willing, sort of, contribution that we see most New Zealanders are making to our efforts. Thank you very much. And we'll see you tomorrow.

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