The government has announced a three-stage phase to ease restrictions in Auckland, with 29 new community cases reported and three more confirmed in Waikato.
Here is a summary of current Covid-19 developments.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon that based on official health advice, the cabinet had decided to implement a three-stage approach to easing restrictions in Auckland, starting at 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night.
The first step allows Auckland residents to travel throughout the region for exercise and recreation, and early childhood centers open for all children. It also allows two households with a maximum of 10 people to meet, but only outside.
“The outdoors and the ventilation it provides make a difference,” Ardern said.
“So don’t for a moment be tempted to suddenly switch to [going] in your house. Being outside is the only reason we allow this because we know it makes a huge material difference. “
Ardern said the public health advice is that these changes are unlikely to contribute to the outbreak’s uncontrolled growth.
In the second stage, retail stores can open with face masks and social distancing, public facilities such as swimming pools and zoos will be opened, and the number of people who can gather outdoors will increase to 25.
The hospitality spaces will open in the third stage, with remote seating with a maximum capacity of 50 people.
Tāmaki Makaurau remains at level 3, with restrictions easing somewhat, while Waikato remains at level 3 for several more days without restrictions being lowered, and the rest of New Zealand remains at level 2, with the only change in the limit of 100 people in hospitality. deleted places.
By the numbers
Twenty-eight new community cases were reported in Auckland today, one in Waikato and three more are confirmed in the region, but will be added to tomorrow’s total.
- Twenty-nine new community cases
- Two new cases at the border
- Seven of today’s cases remain unrelated, as do nine of yesterday’s.
- A total of 1,357 community cases in this outbreak.
- Nineteen of the 33 cases from yesterday have exposure events.
- There are 15 epidemiologically linked subgroups, seven of which are active
- There are 14 unrelated subgroups, five of which are active
- Thirty people are hospitalized, including five in ICU or high dependency units.
- There are 138 places of interest
- The first doses of the vaccine have passed the 2 million mark, and now 2,018,305 are administered
New cases in Waikato
Three household contacts in the Raglan case tested positive, one of whom is a recently identified family contact who lives on the property.
The Health Ministry said they have now all been transferred to an Auckland quarantine facility.
These three cases will be officially recorded in tomorrow’s case numbers.
Testing has intensified in the region, which went to alert level 3 at 11:59 p.m. last night after community cases were reported.
ECE will open, schools likely to open at the beginning of quarter 4
The early childhood centers will open to all children starting Wednesday, as part of step one in the government’s three-stage approach to easing restrictions.
Ardern said the public health team believes that if proper precautions are taken, the risk posed by ECE reopening is low. This includes limits of 10 within a bubble in ECE and strict infection control.
The Early Childhood Council said the decision to allow the centers to open puts its staff on the front line. He wants clear advice from the ministries of health and education on health risk management.
Schools are likely to open to all students beginning Oct. 18, the start of the fourth quarter, but the Cabinet will continue to review the councils and has not made a final decision, Ardern said.
Covid-19 Education and Response Minister Chris Hipkins noted that stricter rules would be introduced for unvaccinated teachers.
“It may be that those who are not vaccinated need to be tested more often, for example there may be requirements that unvaccinated people who work in schools and who work with youth who cannot be vaccinated be tested frequently. We will work through them, we will talk to the industry about the practical realities of all those other things. “
More vaccines are needed
While Aucklanders’ acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines in the past seven weeks had allowed for a loosening of restrictions, Ardern urged anyone who hasn’t had one to get their first dose.
Since Auckland closed on Aug. 17, vaccination figures have doubled from 42 percent who received their first dose to 84 percent, and 25 percent are fully vaccinated to 50 percent.
“The modeling now also tells us that while we are still seeing cases, it is now 50 percent less than what we could have seen without the vaccines,” Ardern said.
Vaccines are now the country’s best defense against Covid-19, he said.
“This is a shift in focus that we were always going to make over time, but the Delta outbreak has accelerated that transition. Vaccines will support it,” he said of the introduction of the three-stage approach.
Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield said restrictions will ease in Auckland within four to eight weeks.
“I am sure that like everyone else, especially Auckland, we look forward to a summer where we can enjoy freedoms and our ticket to that is vaccination, so the next four to eight weeks until early December are critical. to get our vaccination rates. up to. “
Covid Cases Identified in Auckland Hospitals
A baby in the North Shore Hospital maternity ward tested positive for Covid-19.
The baby and its mother were tested after the father, a nominated visitor, tested positive. The mother tested negative, the Waitematā District Board of Health said.
Both have been transferred to a Covid-19 room and security protocols are in place, while a small number of personnel who had contact with the family have been removed as investigations continue, the DHB added.
Meanwhile, a person who went to the Auckland City Hospital Emergency Department yesterday and was admitted to intensive care for reasons unrelated to Covid-19, tested positive for the virus.
Auckland DHB said it is investigating the case together with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service.
The Health Ministry said today that it does not plan to ask hospitals to ban unvaccinated people, as the Covid-19 cases are related to maternity wards.
The ministry said hospitals strongly recommend that people get vaccinated, but it does not stop unvaccinated visitors.
Petition calls for charges against Brian Tamaki
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition for Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki to be criminally charged for a protest against the shutdown.
The petition started 24 hours ago.
Around 1,000 people gathered in the Auckland Domain on Saturday, where Tamaki questioned the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic.
Police say they are in the final stages of their investigation into the infractions and are considering bringing charges against the organizers.