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100 new Covid cases today, protesters block PM's press conference in Whanganui

Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Nov 2021, 12:44PM

100 new Covid cases today, protesters block PM's press conference in Whanganui

Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Nov 2021, 12:44PM

There are 100 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today - 97 are in Auckland and three are in the Waikato. 

There are no new cases in Northland today. 

There are 58 people in hospital. Three people in ICU. Not all of those in hospital, however, are there because Covid is their primary diagnosis. For instance, some are pregnant. 

Fifteen residents and four staff members of Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Henderson have now returned positive tests. 

Three of the Covid-19 positive residents are receiving appropriate ward-level care at North Shore Hospital. 

Of the Waikato cases, two are from Hamilton and one is from Ôtorohanga. Two are known contacts and were already in isolation and with daily public health contact and support. 

There are no new cases in Christchurch again today, however there are still 4 active cases who are in quarantine. There remain 22 Locations of Interest in Canterbury – no new locations have been added in recent days. 

Test results from additional wastewater samples collected in Christchurch are expected later today. 

A person from Myanmar is today in police custody in Gisborne after jumping off a ship at sea near Young Nicks Head last night. 

They were picked up at sea and was admitted to hospital suffering from hypothermia. 

The person was tested for Covid-19, returned a negative result and been discharged from hospital. 

The ship remains anchored 3km offshore. 

The government, meanwhile, has signed a purchase agreement for an additional 4.7 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. 

They will be available throughout next year and be used for 5-11 years olds and a booster programme, among other things, Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins says. 

They could also be used in the Pacific if needed. 

There are currently 2.8 milliondoses in country and the Government expects another 1.5 million before the end of the year. 

Hipkins and director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are delivering today's Covid case numbers. 

"It's good to see that five DHBs have already hit that milestone" of 90 percent vaccinated, Hipkins said. 

"It shows that this is doable. KLeep being creative and innovative and work with your communities." 

Nationwide, 76 percent of people are fully vaccinated. 

Bloomfield says there are 10 new cases in managed isolation. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has cancelled a 12.45pm press conference from Whanganui, where she is promoting the vaccinations rollout. 

A group of about 250 protesters gathered outside the vaccination centre Ardern was planning to visit, blocking the entrance, and the stand-up was subsequently canned. 

The PM's press conference is now scheduled to be held elsewhere at 1.10pm. 

Whanganui has the third lowest vaccination rate of the DHBs – 81 per cent of its eligible population have had one dose and 61 per cent have had two doses. It follows the PM's visit to Northland yesterday just before the far North of Northland was put into lockdown. 

Ardern is in Whanganui to warn lower-vaccinated regions that the Government will not be able to contain Delta in Auckland indefinitely so they should get vaccinated before it spreads more widely. 

Whanganui MP Steph Lewis and Te Tai Hauauru MP Adrian Rurawhe turned up the clinic, but swiftly left as the group of protesters grew. 

The protesters also confronted media, accusing journalists of being paid off by the Government. 

There was a significant police presence at the protest, which grew after protesters began moving onto the road. 

Whanganui-based National List MP Harete Hipango also showed up, but left after about 10 minutes. 

Yesterday, Ardern was around Kawakawa in Northland, well south of the lockdown area. Anti-vaxxers shouted through her media conference, forcing her to abandon it and move indoors to continue it. 

The 1pm update will also deliver a further update on the two mystery cases of Covid-19 which were picked up in Kaingaroa, near Taipa in Doubtless Bay. 

The inability to find a possible link with other cases in the outbreak prompted yesterday's decision to put the far north of Northland into a six-day level 3 lockdown yesterday. 

In a last-minute press conference at 5.30pm yesterday, Bloomfield said the two people concerned had kept good records but no likely link had been found with other cases, and the lockdown would allow some time to try to find that link and check for any undetected transmission. 

The Government is still pursing elimination strategy outside of Auckland, while it waits for vaccination rates to lift. Hipkins has said that if Northland's vaccination rate was higher, it might not have required the level 3 lockdown, but there was a lot of mis-information circulating in Northland. 

The Government is also expected to unveil some details about the supplies of booster shots for next year – a fortnight ago Hipkins said the booster shots were now expected to start before Christmas. 

So far, only those with who are seriously immunocompromised have been told to get third shots of Pfizer, at least eight weeks after their second shot. 

International evidence has indicated Pfizer's effectiveness against Delta starts to wane after six to seven months. That mark has been reached for the first of those vaccinated in New Zealand: the border and health workers, as well as those most vulnerable. 

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