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PM's Press Conference: May 20 - The process to phase in changes during level two

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is giving an update on alert level 2, stamping out Covid-19 and how to get the economy moving again.

Watch the briefing here:

Ardern was in Rotorua yesterday, and she said it was pleasing to see people outside with cafes full and people abiding by rules.

She said the best thing we can do for the economy is to keep on top of the virus.

"We do intend to keep phasing in additional activity under level 2 when the evidence shows we can with low to little risk of further outbreaks."

"Descend can be more dangerous than the climb," Ardern said.

She said Covid-19 is still in the community.

"One case can become 90, and it would only take a few cases of those for us to go back into lockdown."

Ardern said the data suggests the approach we've taken so far is right.

The latest cases represent "the long tail of Covid", she said.

She said he last case where the source was unknown was in early April.

"We've had three full transmission cycles with no cases of community transmissions recorded in NZ," Ardern said.

But she reiterated that the virus was still present here and there was still work to be done and there will be ongoing management of risks.

Rapid contact tracing, surveillance and testing, staying home if sick, tight measures at the border, physical distancing are part of those risk management's.

"Amendments to the border rules can occur at any level also, so it's possible to have a trans-Tasman bubble at level 2," she said.

Bars and clubs will reopen tomorrow but with strict level 2 measures.

Ardern said she understands everyone will want to return to 'normal'.

Cabinet will consider increasing the size of gatherings on Monday.

If data continues to show positive low levels of cases then that will give them further confidence to increase the size of gatherings under level 2, Ardern said, including for religious places.

"I envisage we will stay in level 2 until the Director-General of Health has the confidence that we can de-escalate further."

Changes will be reviewed every two weeks, she said.

Asked about options for mass gatherings in future, Ardern said they want greater control of any risks in the early phases.

She said the approach so far has been to phase into bigger numbers on gatherings, based on the guidance of the Director-General and the evidence.

If a decision is made on Monday then the changes could be expected in the following 48 hours from there, Ardern said.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

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