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Watch: Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield and Education Minister Chris Hipkins

Apr 21, 2020
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Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield and Education Minister Chris Hipkins are set to provide details on the latest Covid-19 cases and how the partial re-opening of schools and early childhood centres will work.

The total number of confirmed and probable cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in New Zealand increased yesterday by nine to 1440, with 974 people recovered and 14 people in hospitals.

The death toll from Covid-19 is at 13 after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed today a New Zealand man travelling in Peru had died from Covid-19.

They are expected to brief the media at 1pm.

Watch live:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday announced the country would move to alert level 3 at 11.59pm next Monday, five days after the four-week lockdown was planned to end. It would remain in at least alert level three for the following two weeks before being reviewed again.

The government said schools and early learning centres could reopen next Wednesday for children who could not learn from home or whose parents were going back to work at alert level 3.

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Ashley Bloomfield, left, and Chris Hipkins Photo: Pool

The government said people would be allowed into schools and early learning centres from today for cleaning and other preparations ahead of a teacher-only day on Tuesday.

It said children and teenagers were at low risk of catching and passing on the coronavirus.

However, early childhood services want more evidence it will be safe to reopen next week and some are likely to remain closed.

The Early Childhood Council, which represents more than 1000 early childhood services, had called for centres to remain closed until the country reached alert level 2.

School principals appeared to be happier about the decision.

The president of the Principals’ Federation, Perry Rush, said they understood that schools needed to reopen so parents could get back to work.

Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.

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Apr 21, 2020 1:21 PM
RNZ Live
Bloomfield says reports from the WHO and China showed that children were unlikely to pass on Covid-19 to adults.
Apr 21, 2020 1:16 PM
RNZ Live
The Education Minister says residential and special schools will not be able to open in the early stages of alert level three.

He says they may be able to open later on if public health measures can be managed.

Apr 21, 2020 1:16 PM RNZ Live Today’s speakers are Hon Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education, and Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health.

  • Hipkins thanks the education sector for its good will.
  • 80,000 education packs in English and 10,000 packs in Maori have been distributed.
  • Further equipment is waiting to be shipped from overseas.
  • 600,000 routers are being distributed to students who need them, with priorities for NCEA students.
  • Distance learning will be with us for some time, at least another three weeks, Hipkins says.
  • Our return to education and restarting our economy is largely on par with the rest of the world, Hipkins says.
  • Parents can have confidence there are measures to keep children, teachers and families safe, Hipkins says.
  • There will be limits on how many people children can have contact with. They will be in the same group each day with no mixing between groups.
  • The Director-General of health is confident there is no widespread community transmission, so the chances of it coming in the doors are low, Hipkins says.
  • Approach to reopening the education sector is based on the latest public health advice.
  • Ministry of Education has been meeting with sector groups to go through the issues involved.
  • Most children who need to attend will be able to do so by the 29th of April, but some schools may need extra time to get ready.
  • To prepare schools and ECEs to reopen, they are allowed to be accessed for cleaning etc.
  • Students in hostels, halls of residence and self contained flats can stay there with strict rules. But if they went home to join their family bubble, they must stay there for alert level 3.
  • Education for students in years 11 to 13 will continue remotely.
  • Teachers and staff will continue to support students while remaining at home.
  • Schools and early childhood centres will be open up til year ten, for the students who need them.
  • Turning to education now – under alert level 3, most children will continue distance learning.
  • The total number of cases is now 1,445.
  • Reduced numbers of MPs in the house are expected.
  • Hipkins says Parliament will meet again on April 28, sitting will have same processes as other workplaces.
  • Rates of flu infection and respiratory illnesses have plummeted – resulting in less tests being processed, Bloomfield says.
  • 3203 tests were processed yesterday, 89,503 have been done in total.
  • 14 people are in hospital, 3 in ICU, but none are in critical condition.
  • Six residents who tested positive were transferred to Waitakere Hospital. Another 9 residents considered close contacts were transferred to North Shore hospital for care.
  • Residents were transferred after staff were put in self isolation after close contact from Covid-19 cases.
  • A woman in her 70s has died of Covid-19. She was one of six residents at St Margaret’s rest home in Auckland who were transferred to hospital.
  • Two are confirmed cases and three are probable, all are linked to exisiting cases.
  • There are 5 new cases of Covid-19 in NZ.
  • Chris Hipkins will set out what lockdown level 3 will look like for our schools.
  • The All of Government COVID-19 National Response will provide an update at 1.00pm today.

 

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