The cabinet has decided that all of New Zealand will remain at Level 4 for four more days, until 11:59 p.m. M. From August 27; Auckland will remain at Level 4 until 11:59 PM on August 31.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that six days after the outbreak, the government identified the source of the outbreak as a returnee from New South Wales who was in the Crowne Plaza before being quarantined at Jet Park.
“We will continue with that investigation and update you on the progress.”
She says the tests over the six-day period are a record “in a way” and represent about 3 percent of the population.
Some 108,000 tests have been conducted in Auckland, she says, and thanks those who waited in queues, saying that with additional testing centers being stopped, wait times are starting to shrink.
“With Delta, you need more certainty,” he says, which is why such a quick lockdown was important.
She says Delta had an advantage against New Zealand before the close.
“Initial estimates suggest that the number may be six or more, you may recall from previous outbreaks that the number must be less than one for the virus to be eradicated, so we still have a long way to go.”
She says known contacts are spread throughout New Zealand, and there may be more contacts that are not known.
The cabinet has decided that all of New Zealand will remain at level 4 for four more days, until 11:59 pm on Friday, August 27.
She says this setting will be reviewed on Friday.
She says we know enough that Auckland will remain the primary location for the outbreak and will remain at alert level 4 until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, August 31. That configuration will be reviewed next Monday.
“Delta has changed the rules of the game, but we have also changed our approach, we have strengthened our alert levels, expanded our contact tracing, we have required more mask and we are testing more people. It is absolutely possible to get to the top of this, we just have to maintain it and make sure that we are not in restrictions for any longer than necessary. “
She says non-essential workers shouldn’t leave the house unless they get some fresh air once a day.
People should also remember that some people have disabilities and cannot wear a mask, and ask people to be nice.
She says the extra time delaying the drop in alert levels gives New Zealand additional data and information and time to conduct tests.
Ardern says the people of Aucklanders will know we haven’t reached the peak of the outbreak yet.
Dr. Bloomfield says that this Friday they will be 14 days away from the exhibition events that particularly concern them.
Ardern says the extension is still within the “short and precise” and “go hard and early” strategy.
Dr Bloomfield says the advice he gave to the Cabinet is what the Cabinet agreed to: extend Level 4 until Friday and extend Auckland for longer.
He says the outlook in Wellington is reassuring because the links to the outbreak are clear.
“The student who traveled here to Wellington was in a residence in Auckland, and in that residence about 500 students have dispersed across the country, so that is a very important group that we are following.”
Ardern says that while a person-to-person link has not always been immediately established when new cases are interviewed by health officials, location links are identified very quickly, which fits in with the Delta variant.
Crowne Plaza update
She says that at the Crowne Plaza, the person in question went to the atrium and most of the people who were nearby have been located and examined, only two more are wanted.
“Open mind to all options,” says Dr. Bloomfield.
Three of the people outside the lobby tested negative, Ardern says, one is in the process of getting tested and two have yet to be found.
Bloomfield says the additional call center capacity has been increased today.
Ardern says additional capacity is also being added for various government departments.
She says the public walkway at the Crowne Plaza has not been established as a problem. She says it has barriers between and ventilation, and has been evaluated by infection control experts, but “we have not ruled out anything inside or outside at this time.”
Dr. Bloomfield says that whenever a concern is found in a single managed isolation facility, all other MIQ facilities are screened for the same issue as well.
Ardern says what exactly the problem is has yet to be established. Dr. Bloomfield says that the MIQ facilities are still open because there are still people there, but there are no new entrances at the Crowne Plaza.
Bloomfield says the next three or four days, in particular, will show if there are any ongoing broadcasts in Wellington or Coromandel.
He says that the single event with the most cases is the Assembly of God church event. He says it’s not surprising considering it’s a multi-hour event that includes things like singing.
Ardern says the government continues to plan boundary options for once the cabinet decides to move to a regional approach to contain the outbreak.
Bloomfield says the vast majority of close contacts who have not yet been contacted are those who have been identified today and yesterday.
Ardern says on the top of his head that about 11 of the people who have tested positive so far have been vaccinated.
Bloomfield says that at 9 a.m., seven of the outbreak cases are in the hospital, none in the ICU. It says that a person with Covid-19 is in the ICU and that is the person who was transferred here from Fiji.
He says that engaging with church leaders is “the way to go” and there was a zoom call last night with community leaders and church leaders.
‘Elimination is the strategy’
Ardern says that a week ago the forum with Professor Skegg outlined what New Zealand’s strategy might look like, and over the next year, the government will continue to assess and re-evaluate how it approaches Covid-19, but for now “everyone agrees. , elimination is the strategy. “
Bloomfield says the testing delays are mostly in Auckland, due to high demand. He says that much more evidence has been able to be processed more quickly in this outbreak.
Ardern says that Australia allowing Covid-19 to circulate while having high levels of vaccination is not compatible with the opening of New Zealand.
Bloomfield says that, from what he has seen, none of the cases in the outbreak were Maori, but more than 50 percent of the cases are people from the Pacific. Ardern says this is due to where the outbreak has affected.
Ardern says he has not heard of a case where the contacts were not at home when the trackers contacted them. She says it is very encouraging to see the lack of cases that have been infectious in the community, compared to what has been seen in New South Wales.
Bloomfield says all DHBs have been training parts of their workforce to care for and monitor people on ventilation support since last March.
Ardern says that on the advice of the Director General of Health, Parliament will be suspended for a week.
“While, of course, we want to make sure that representatives from the entire House have the ability to scrutinize the government at this time, physically bringing deputies across the country to Parliament represents a risk.”
She says ministers will be available to appear before select committees.
“These committees will continue to meet virtually, allowing us to balance security and scrutiny. We will use next week to see if there are any other improvements we can make. I would add that these kinds of alternative arrangements are common across the world like others. parliaments also manage outbreaks in their countries. “
Ardern says it’s about finding a balance between security and scrutiny.
“We were not at level 4 the last time Parliament met, we found alternative measures to allow that scrutiny to happen in a virtual environment and we are doing it again. One of the improvements is that instead of having a committee, we are having multiple committees so that more deputies can access that process. “
She says that our Parliament’s disruption has been minimal compared to other countries.
Over the weekend, the government also announced measures to make record-keeping, such as the use of the Covid Tracer app, mandatory, although the rules have left companies confused about what areas are covered.