COVID-19 Update: Moving to Alert Level 1, NZ COVID Tracer App and the Āwhina App for health workers

9 Jun 2020

Kia rere arorangi aku whakamānawa ki te tītoko o te rangi, ki te whakaaio o te whenua, kia māturuturu te tōmairangi o tōna atawhai, o āna manaakitanga ki runga i a tātou i tēnei wā, ā, haere nei te wā. Ka whakaarohia rātou ngā mate tāruru nui o te wā, rātou kua riro ki tua i te ārai ki te rua kōiwi o te Atua Matua. Me taku kī atu, okioki mai koutou i roto i ōna ringa atawhai. Waiho mai mātou i konei kia tangi atu. Ko rātou te hunga mate ki a rātou, ko tātou te pito ora ki a tātou.  

Tēnā tātou katoa,

Hurō! Congratulations are due for our team of five million. We have managed to successfully eliminate COVID-19 here in Aotearoa. We’ve also reached a significant milestone on our journey – today is the first day since February 28 that we’ve had no active cases. I want to acknowledge every one of you for doing your part to get us here today. It has been a difficult journey but necessary to keep our country safe.

Heoi anō, kia mataara tonu tātou, we must stay vigilant, we remain in a global pandemic and the threat of COVID-19 continues. We can ensure the continued safety of our whānau however by maintaining basic health and hygiene measures and adhering to the golden rules.

In this pānui, I want to update you on a few important things, including: Alert Level 1 and what that means for you, the official NZ COVID Tracer app and the Āwhina App for health workers.  

Case Updates

As mentioned above, I’m pleased to report there are no active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

The Ministry has been notified by Auckland Regional Public Health that its remaining case has been symptom free for 48 hours and is regarded as recovered. The person has now been released from isolation. Obviously, this is great news for the person concerned, but it’s also something the rest of us can take heart in.

Although we have reason to celebrate, I want to remember those who we’ve lost along the way. Sadly, 22 people died as a result of COVID-19 here in Aotearoa. My whakaaro and aroha are with the whānau pani who are grieving. Their loss is significant, and we should remember them in their mourning – mā te Wāhi Ngaro rātou e tiaki, e manaaki hoki i a rātou e tangi hotuhotu ana.  

Key updates:

  •        Alert Level 1 – What does it mean for you and my whānau?

As of midnight tonight, we will move done to COVID-19 Alert Level 1. This is essentially a return to normal with few restrictions. So, what does that mean for you?

Alert Level 1 will see us returning without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and we are allowed to get together with as many people as we want.

This means you and your whānau can hold weddings, funerals, tangihanga, birthday parties, all without restriction on numbers and anywhere in the country.

This will be our new normal but, while we do return to pre-COVID life, we must remember we remain in a global pandemic. This freedom from restrictions relies heavily on the ongoing role that our border controls will play in keeping the virus out.

We must remain mindful of the global situation and the harsh reality that the virus will be in our world for some time to come.

Controls at the borders remain for those entering Aotearoa, including:

o        health screening and testing for all arrivals, and

o        mandatory 14-day managed quarantine or isolation.

We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time – it is a sustained effort.

It’s still important that we keep the basic hygiene measures that worked so well through all Alert Levels. These include:

o        washing your hands,

o        coughing or sneezing into your elbow,

o        staying home if you’re sick, and

o        while not required, it’s good to be aware of physical distancing when out and about, especially with those you don’t know.

We should all continue to keep track of where we’ve been and who we’ve seen – this will help with contact tracing if needed. We must also self-isolate immediately if we are told to do so by health authorities.

We have made great progress as a country but we need to keep up the effort to ensure our iwi, hapū, and whānau stay safe and protected.  

  •        Official Contract Tracing App

The Ministry of Health has launched its official contact tracing app called NZ COVID Tracer. It is available for download on both Google and Apple online stores.

People who download the app create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to business premises, other organisations and public buildings. People can also register their contact information through the app to make sure the National Close Contact Service can get in touch if they need to. Read the full media release for more information.

Businesses, organisations, facilities and venues (like restaurants, marae, and churches) should assist manuhiri and customers to keep track of where they’ve been, by displaying an official QR Code poster. To learn more about getting a QR Code poster generated, visit the NZ COVID Tracer webpage.

  •        Āwhina – App for Health Workers

The Ministry of Health released a new mobile app, Āwhina, to give health workers quick access to the information they need about COVID-19 from their mobile device anywhere, anytime. Āwhina contains information such as case definitions, clinical care pathways and Personal Protective Equipment guidance.

The emergence of COVID-19 and the response required by people working in the health and disability sector highlighted the need for a tool to provide easy access to the up-to-date information relevant to their area of work.

The Ministry of Health developed the app with feedback from people working in the health sector, and by learning from approaches taken in other countries to get information about COVID-19 to health workers.

While the app is currently being used to share information about COVID-19, we expect the app will be able to share other health information in the future.

Āwhina is free to download from the Google and Apple app stores. For more information, visit the Ministry of Health webpage.

Please can you help:

  1.        Ensure your provider networks know about these COVID-19 updates.
  2.        Share information with your local networks to ensure our whānau know the updated advice and how to keep themselves safe.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my team at: maorihealth@health.govt.nz

Mā te Atua koutou e manaaki hei ngā rangi e tū mai nei,  

Nāhaku me aku mihi aroha,


John Whaanga
Deputy Director-General | Māori Health Directorate
Waea pūkoro: 021 578 040  | Īmēra: John.Whaanga@health.govt.nz