Auckland to move to level 3, small part of Waikato to be included in border

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 3:51PM

Auckland to move to level 3, small part of Waikato to be included in border

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 3:51PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield provided a Covid-19 update. 

Auckland will move to level 3 from 11.59 Tuesday for a period of 2 weeks. Cabinet will then review these settings. 

Ardern said almost all cases in the last 14 days were known contacts of existing contacts, and they were confident there was no significant undetected transmission. 

Ardern said for the most part there were not widespread issues with workplaces, and most workplaces had strict protocols in place. ' 

She said masks, distancing and limited travel were all important "and must continue to be used." 

Ardern said it was essential to keep bubbles tight "and all of these features are part of level 3," 

For the rest of NZ, while Auckland was at 3 or 4, level 2 would still apply. But the level 2 rules would be changed to allow a maximum of 100 people to gather, including at hospitality venues. 

Ardern reminded Aucklanders that bubbles remained, and they should not visit friends, or neighbours. Children should not be allowed to play with each other. 

"Small" changes to the bubble were allowed to bring in someone who was in lockdown alone, or a caregiver. "Your bubble must remain small and exclusive" Ardern said. 

Businesses could re-open if they did so safely. That included Covid tests for any staff with symptoms. 

She urged those who could to work from home if they could, and to keep young children at home. 

Children should only be going to school if parents were essential workers. 

Cabinet has also mandated mask use at high schools which were open at level 3. 

For over-65s in Auckland, Ardern said level 3 posed a higher level of risk. She urged those aged more than 65 to stay at home until they had been vaccinated. There were about 23,000 people aged over 65 in Auckland who were not yet vaccinated. 

Healthline were now calling older New Zealanders to urge them to get vaccinated, and answer any questions they might have. 

She said the only other time older people had been asked to stay at home was right at the start of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns "when we didn't have a tool to protect you. Now we do have a tool - please use it." 

On the boundaries around Auckland, Ardern reiterated the need to have a weekly test. People who were travelling for personal reasons, with an exemption, now also needed a negative test up to 72 hours before they travelled. 

Ardern urged Auckland to remember level 3 was still a lockdown. 

Ardern said staying in level 4 for the five weeks had been important to give reassurance that the outbreak was under control. 

"Level 4 has done the job we needed it to do." She said. She also said however that "level 3 is not opening up." 

Asked if she could still eliminate Delta under level 3, Ardern said level 3 was the level that was first used in other outbreaks. Level 4 was used instead this time because it was Delta, and it was seen what happened in Australia. 

Bloomfield said he was "very confident" there was not a pool of undetected chains of transmissions, and the cases were now geographically confined around the south Auckland areas. 

Ardern said if it was possible, unvaccinated over 65s should use other people to do their shopping, but should still go to their health appointments. 

"The best way to move in a level 3 environment safely is to be vaccinated," Ardern said. 

Ardern said it was now known Delta had been in the community for 7-10 days prior to the first case, and level 4 "was the right move and has worked." 

"To everyone, but especially Auckland, thank you for acting quickly and for persevering." 

Waikato cases result in increased border 

Bloomfield has implemented a section 70 notice for people around Mangatangi which effectively increases the border around Auckland. 

It requires those who had visited or lived there since September 8 to isolate and monitor symptoms. That included the school and a marae. 

People were asked to monitor locations of interest. 

Ardern said it was a "bespoke" level 4 lockdown requirement around that area. She also said police would mirror the section 70 for border management. 

The reason a boundary approach and a section 70 were used was to ensure those who worked in that area but did not live there were also covered. 

Testing in and around the cases in Waikato has including corrections, court and Police staff and there currently still only the three cases reported this morning. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said five cases were unlinked for today, but three in one family and there was a "tentative" link. 

There are 22 new cases today – including the 5 in Waikato revealed late last night. 5 of those have yet to be linked to the cluster.