Saturday, December 4

Covid-19 lockout day 2: what has happened


More community cases were reported in New Zealand today, and the number of locations of interest continues to rise, but there was a breakthrough in the battle against Covid-19 as a link was established between the current cases and an arrival from Australia.

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Photo: RNZ

The breakthrough came when health authorities linked current cases of the Delta variant in this country to a traveler who arrived from New South Wales and was transferred to Middlemore Hospital earlier this week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Chief Health Officer Dr. Ashley Bloomfield shared the news on the second day of the national lockdown, revealing that there were now 21 community cases.

Ardern said the current positive cases have been linked by genome sequencing to a traveler who arrived from New South Wales on a red-zone managed flight. That person tested positive on the first day on August 9 and was transferred from the Crown Plaza Hotel to the Jet Park facility.

They were then transferred to Middlemore Hospital on August 16.

Ardern said the period in which the cases were in the community was relatively short, but new information could change this conclusion.

He said the main lines of investigation are Crown Plaza staff, Jet Park facility staff, and staff involved in their arrival and transportation. Middlemore Hospital is not part of the investigation.

Dr. Bloomfield said that, as of this morning, more than 360 individual contacts have been identified, but this number excludes large gatherings and is expected to grow significantly in the coming days.

The cabinet will meet tomorrow at 1pm to discuss alert levels for the rest of the country outside of Auckland and Coromandel, followed by a press conference on its decision at 3pm.

Extended travel window

The government also announced that it has extended the time for people to return home on Air New Zealand or Interislander flights by 24 hours.

Air New Zealand wanted the government to extend the 48-hour deadline to allow people to return home, saying the tightening point is in Queenstown, where hundreds of people are still waiting to get home.

The government deadline for travel is 11.59pm tonight. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at her press conference this afternoon that it would be extended by 24 hours for Interislander and Air NZ passengers.

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said that when the shutdown occurred Tuesday night, Air New Zealand had about 50,000 passengers to carry.

Fears of super spreader events

Meanwhile new places of interest They have been revealed for Auckland, including two cinemas, a gas station and a supermarket.

These include SkyCity Casino and a busy nightclub in central Auckland, Bar 101, which experts fear will turn into wide-spread events.

This afternoon, more than 1000 new people have been considered close contacts of a positive case of Covid-19 who visited the games room of the main SkyCity Auckland casino over the weekend.

Billy Te Kahika appears in court

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said that overall there has been a high level of compliance with alert level 4 rules, but police were disappointed by protests against the shutdown and violations of the shutdown rules.

There were nearly 700 complaints online about people violating lockdown rules in the 17 hours after alert level four went into effect.

Conspiracy theorist Billy Te Kahika was one of eight people arrested yesterday at an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland and has appeared in court today after violating Level 4 lockdown restrictions in public gatherings.

Te Kahika appeared by video link in Auckland District Court before Judge Peter Winter.

He was granted bail after pleading not guilty to two counts under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act and one count under the Search and Surveillance Act.

He must appear alongside a co-defendant at a hearing in October.

Dunedin grocery shortage

RNZ heard reports of toilet paper cleaning in some supermarkets and has verified that this is the case on Countdown Mailer Street, while bread stocks have been affected in Countdown Dunedin South.

Countdown would not address the shortage of specific products, saying “this tends not to be helpful,” but a statement attributed to Countdown’s general manager of corporate affairs, security and sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, said they were working to fill the gaps.

“We are very proud of the way our team has dealt with the increased demand that we have seen in stores over the past 48 hours,” the statement said.

The head of corporate food affairs, Antoinette Laird, said there was plenty of product for everyone.

“Toilet paper, like all essentials, is in good supply as long as customers #buy normally and do not stockpile it, putting undue pressure on the supply chain network.

“Our customer demand is still to buy as you normally would – this is the best way to ensure that there is enough for everyone.”

The mask rule takes effect

As of today, masks are mandatory for staff and customers in supermarkets, gas stations, dairies and pharmacies that are open at level 4.

The Foodstuffs chain, including Pak’nSave and New World, said they would turn people away if they don’t wear a mask, while Countdown won’t automatically reject entry.

At Pak’nSave Petone this morning, shoppers who arrived without masks were handed over by staff outside the store.

And at Countdown, skins were provided to shoppers who left theirs at home.

High demand for tests

The Covid-19 test stations in Auckland continue under enormous pressure.

Once again there have been huge lines and long waits.

Yesterday was the busiest since the outbreak in August last year.

Nearly 16,000 tests were performed, of which about 10,000 were carried out in general medicine and urgent care clinics.

Today 10 community testing centers have opened across the city.

This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.

All New Zealand You are now at Covid-19 Alert Level 4.

The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which will likely remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.

A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.

Stay at home whenever possible and follow level 4 alert guidelines. This will stop the spread of Covid-19 and SAVE LIVES.

All are asked to:

Wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 meters from others when you leave your house.

If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested.

Keep scanning QR codes every time you leave your home.

Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often.

Services that include supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and gas stations will remain open at alert level 4. Face covers are mandatory for all people, both employees and customers, in companies and services that operate at alert level 4 that involve contact with the client.

For more information on Alert Level 4, go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]

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Kia Kaha – Stay strong


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