All of New Zealand south of Auckland will go to alert level three at midnight Tuesday, but Auckland is likely to remain at level 4 for two weeks, the prime minister confirmed.
These settings will be reviewed a week later. Auckland and Northland will remain at level 4, and decisions on this will be considered on Monday.
Jacinda Ardern and Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield have spoken about the Cabinet’s decision to change the country’s lockdown status.
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Ardern said today’s decisions “will put us in the best possible position to give as much certainty as we can.”
He said that Auckland at this stage was likely to stay at Level 4 for another two weeks.
“We will have to be sure that we have eliminated it and that we have contained and isolated the cases.”
He said Northland was being listed due to a recent case in Warkworth and that the government was concerned about northbound travel, but Northland is unlikely to remain in the same position as Auckland in the long run.
She said that one of the exhibition sites in Warkworth, although closed to the public, was a relatively large workplace.
Ardern said that “we may be seeing the beginning of a plateau of cases” based on today’s case numbers.
“But caution is still required.”
She said it was clear from the outbreak that Delta was more infectious and moving faster.
“Of the cases reported yesterday, about half were household contacts. Unfortunately, we know from Australia that household members are almost universally being infected with Covid-19, that means you can expect our numbers to continue for some time as that household contacts continue to test positive. “
He said public health units were seeing very fast infection times with Delta, but did not change the fact that the strategy at this time was elimination and “all New Zealanders can play their part in that.”
Of the new cases reported yesterday, only 10 had new exposure events, “and some of them were pre-blocking.” He said compliance was very high.
“The lockdown is making a difference,” he said.
“We know that Covid is not going to disappear quickly, but our strategy may evolve.”
Ardern said that previously levels 4 and 3 were used to reduce spread, now level 4 was used to do most of the heavy lifting.
The alert level for districts outside Auckland was due to expire tonight, but the prime minister said there were two reasons why the rest of the country remains at level 4 for three more days.
The first is the confidence of a cycle of almost 14 days since the cases were discovered, the second is due to the cases in Wellington.
“We also have those contacts in the south and that full two-week transmission cycle is very useful in terms of our confidence.”
There is also the result of the sewage in Christchurch, and more tests will give more confidence about it, she says.
She has given a reminder of the rules, which may be found here.
He said there will be checkpoints and no one will be able to move between alert levels without an exemption. Police have been working to make sure the boundaries run as smoothly as possible, he says.
Employers to be affected must apply for an exemption.
“If you are not an essential worker, you cannot cross the border.”
Today, the Ministry of Health revealed that there were 70 new cases of Covid-19 in the community.
In a statement, the Health Ministry said there were 19 community cases in the hospital, including one in the ICU. All were in stable condition.
The total number of cases related to the current community outbreak ranged from 347 to 333 in Auckland and 14 in Wellington, the ministry said.