National COVID-19 summer resurgence plan

Our plan to manage any potential COVID-19 resurgence over summer.

In summer New Zealanders travel around the country, socialise, and go to large events, increasing the possible spread of COVID-19 in the community. During the holidays, this can make any response more challenging — but we have got a plan.

Our plan outlines how to reduce the risk of, get ready for and respond to new COVID-19 cases.

Reduce, Ready, Respond

How we will reduce the risk of, 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 are 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 — our toolkit

How we will ready our 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.

Respond — how we would respond

How we would respond if resurgence happens.

Phase 1: Assessment

Community case confirmed and transmission risk assessed.

Phase 2: Immediate response

If needed, 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.

Resurgence scenarios

COVID-19 is a tricky virus — we have learned a lot from our experience so far, but we all have a part to play in stopping the spread.

Our ‘test, trace and isolate’ approach focuses on being able to test lots of people and quickly trace and isolate contacts. We cannot predict where or how a new case might appear in the community, but we have done a lot of planning to handle a wide range of possible situations.

While any response will depend on the circumstances such as the location or timing, it is useful to think of 3 scenarios over summer.

Scenario 1: Contained border case

  1. A border worker tests positive as part of routine testing.
  2. Rapid contact tracing finds the person has had limited movements and few contacts with people while not at work.
  3. This is a standard ‘test, trace and isolate’ case.
  4. New Zealand would likely remain in Alert Level 1. Summer holidays are not likely to be interrupted.

What you should do 

Keep an eye out for updates on this website and on our Facebook page

Unite against COVID-19 Facebook page (external link)

Scenario 2: National response likely

  1. A person tests positive while on holiday at a campsite.
  2. Initial investigation finds the person is related to a border worker. There is a good chance that contact tracing will identify anyone else they may have infected.
  3. Local or regional testing capacity would be ramped up.
  4. Targeted restrictions and/or Alert Level changes are possible. Campers would be asked to follow official advice.

What you should do

Follow official advice, watch for media announcements and keep an eye on this website.

Scenario 3: National response likely

  1. A person tests positive after they travel home from a large music festival in a different region.
  2. Investigation finds no link to the border. A large number of people were possibly exposed at the festival and have now travelled out of the region. There is a high risk of transmission across the country.
  3. The nature of the festival will make identifying close contacts difficult. Testing capacity would be ramped up nationwide.
  4. A nationwide Alert Level change is possible. Events may be cancelled, and New Zealanders may be asked to stay where they are in their bubble while they wait for official advice.

What you should do

Follow official advice, watch for media announcements and keep an eye on this website.

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