Saturday, December 4

Nationwide lockdown likely to be extended, experts say


Experts predict that the entire country will remain at alert level 4 until health officials can rule out community transmission beyond Auckland’s borders.

Christchurch CBD on the first day of the level 4 lockdown of the Delta Covid-19 case

Christchurch CBD on the first day of the level 4 lockdown of the Delta Covid-19 case
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce any changes to the alert level at 3:00 p.m. after a meeting with her cabinet ministers this afternoon.

It has already noted that Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula will be at alert level 4 for seven days, while the rest of the country has been ordered to stay home for at least three days.

Epidemiologist professor Michael Baker said the government simply won’t know enough about the outbreak to ease restrictions today.

“The problem for the government is that it really will not have enough information to make the decision to remove the rest of New Zealand from alert level 4.”

“I’m pretty sure they will want to wait a few more days, or maybe give it a full week, before they can review that decision, simply because they won’t have enough knowledge about it.”

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Michael Baker
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

He said it was not yet clear if the virus had spread beyond Auckland, but rapid Covid-19 tests and sewage tests would clarify this picture in the coming days.

Tāmaki Makaurau is almost guaranteed to remain at alert level 4, Baker said.

Auckland Chamber of Business Executive Director Michael Barnett said an extension of the lockdown would not surprise city businesses.

“I think the fact that Auckland has so many quarantined hotels made it almost inevitable that there would be a community case and I think the acceptance that it would be soon.”

Barnett said the government quickly reinstated its wage subsidy and resurgence support pay schemes had given companies the certainty of entering the lockdown.

The outbreak is currently confined to Auckland, leaving some southern Islanders questioning why they are also under Alert Level 4 restrictions.

Southland Mayor Gary Tong said it was an opinion shared only by a minority of people in his area, but if the lockdown were extended today, people’s patience could start to wear thin.

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Southland Mayor Gary Tong
Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

“There will be variables about how people feel, there will be no question about that. I hope that most of them follow the rules. We are all in this together.

“This strain has proven to be a problem overseas and is quite rampant. It’s a shame it got here. Experts expected it to get here and it’s here. Let’s do our best to get rid of the mongrel thing.”

Baker sympathized with people’s desire to get out of lockdown, but said it was a necessary step to avoid a longer period of restrictions.

“We all want to get out of the confinement as quickly as possible and the quickest route out of this is to do it once and do it well – it’s a cliché, but that’s what the evidence tells us.

“I think we can be more optimistic now that we will get through this Delta variant outbreak fairly quickly. There are no absolute guarantees, but when you look at the alternative in Australia, they are struggling because they did not have these quick and decisive responses.”

There are now more than 100 locations of interest.

Sky City Casino on the second day of closing in August 2021.

New locations of interest revealed yesterday included SkyCity Casino, where more than 1,000 customers and 240 employees have been deemed close contacts of a positive Covid-19 case that visited the main arcade.
Photo: RNZ / Robert Smith

Yesterday, genome sequencing found that the current positive cases are very similar to those of a recent returnee from Sydney, who arrived on a flight managed by the red zone on 7 August.

It was a promising link to the border that led Covid-19 modeler Professor Shaun Hendy to assume that the scale of the outbreak could be much smaller than initially feared.

He anticipated that the number of people infected in the community at the time the outbreak was first detected could be reduced to “several dozen.”

This was pending Hendy running more numbers for an updated model, which has since returned numbers similar to the initial predictions.

“The good news is that that later introduction date means that the virus has been in the community for a shorter period of time. That means we are probably not seeing many other undetected transmission chains.

“However, when we look at the case numbers that we’ve found so far, and when those people were probably infected, we had a very, very rapid spread late last week, going into the weekend.”

Hendy said the government was unlikely to ease alert level 4 restrictions, given the persistent possibility that people have been exposed to the virus and traveled across the country.

“I think we will have to wait a while until we can rule out transmission to other parts of the country.

“Certainly in the future, if we don’t see cases emerging on the South Island, you can probably anticipate that it will break out of alert level 4 sooner, but given the scale of what we are potentially dealing with here in Auckland, we need to be cautious about that. focus “.

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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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