It’s possible parts of the country could move from red to orange, or from orange to green, in time for the Christmas and New Year break.
Another traffic light announcement is due at 4pm today, after cabinet meets this afternoon to make its final planned Covid decision of the year. Currently, Auckland, Northland, Taupō, Rotorua Lakes, Kawerau, Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki, Gisborne, Wairoa, Rangitīkei, Whanganui and Ruapehu districts are all in the “red” setting with the rest of the country at orange.
Phil Goff, the mayor of Auckland, was hopeful of a move to orange ahead of Christmas but admitted it was likely still in the balance. “But there are a number of things aligning that would make it perfectly possible and desirable to go into orange. So my hope is that we will go into orange, but I’m not absolutely certain the government is ready to take that step yet,” he told the Herald.
“The government has a track record of being quite cautious, and I suppose we should be grateful for that. But I think we are on the cusp of going into orange.”
Covid-19 cases have generally been trending downward over the past 10 days, since the move into the new framework. Yesterday there were 103 cases but Saturday saw the lowest number of new cases in six weeks.
Taupō mayor David Trewavas told RNZ that several key events hinged on a move to orange, and he was keeping his fingers crossed it would be announced today. “We’d dearly love to be in orange and I think we deserve it. Then we can go ahead with the races, and the Greenstone concerts, and all those activities that Taupō is world famous for,” he said.
Today’s Covid-19 cases will be released at 1pm while Jacinda Ardern will make the traffic light announcement at 4pm.