Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for August 30, with Stewart Sowman-Lund. Send any tips, thoughts or memes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to help support our Covid-19 coverage? Click here to learn how you can back The Spinoff today.
A summary of the lockdown announcements
- Auckland to remain in level four lockdown until at least 11.59pm on Tuesday September 14.
- Pending testing results, Northland will move to level three at 11.59pm on Thursday September 2.
- The rest of country goes to level three at 11.59pm tomorrow, Tuesday August 31.
- There were 53 new community cases of Covid-19 reported, all in Auckland bringing the total number of active cases in the community outbreak to 562.
- Of the current community cases, 37 cases are in hospital – 32 are on a ward and five in ICU.
- Yesterday saw 47,897 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine administered.
8.20pm: HelloFresh employees test positive for Covid-19
Two employees at HelloFresh in Auckland have tested positive for Covid-19 in Auckland, prompting a number of staff at the the meal-kit company to go into self-isolation
In an email to customers, CEO Tom Rutledge wrote: “Unfortunately a number of the team in our Auckland distribution centre have had to go into self-isolation after two of their team members returned a positive Covid-19 test. Although these two team members shared a shift it is not clear whether their cases are linked. Nevertheless, we have recommended all staff who worked the same shifts to get tested and self-isolate until further advice from the local public health authority.”
The site, he said, “has been deep cleaned and ARPHS has confirmed that the HelloFresh product is safe for distribution and consumption … We will be working hard to adapt our operations as quickly as possible to account for this workforce shortage, however in some cases we will be unable to complete deliveries.”
6.15pm: Police to move ‘from education to enforcement’
Breaches of level four rules will be approached with lowering levels of tolerance henceforth, police have warned. “Now is not the time to throw caution to the wind or take unnecessary risks,” said Commissioner Andrew Coster in a statement. “We all know the rules by now so the public can expect Police to move from education through to enforcement more quickly in these circumstances.”
Breaches of level four rules over the weekend include reports of poachers on farmland at Totora Flat in Grey District. “Officers responded and located two men in a vehicle, one of whom admitted hunting. An unloaded firearm was also found in the vehicle. Enquiries are under way to determine whether charges will be filed,” said Coster.
Among other “creative reasons” provided to police for non-essential travel:
- needing to fix a shower
- buying a puppy
- delivering fish to a friend
- getting “better quality meat”
- going for a Sunday drive.
As of 5pm yesterday, 107 people had been charged with a total of 115 offences since lockdown began, while 293 people were issued with warnings and 2179 infringements issued nationwide. Police have received a total of 12,674 online breach notifications, with another 2,293 complaints of perceived breaches by phone.
5.45pm: ‘Exploring a range of options’ – Hipkins on vaccine supply
The government is seeking to get bigger and earlier stocks of the Pfizer vaccine, but would not on current agreements, with around 300,00 doses arriving a week, be able to sustain the average of 75,000 doses administered a day, Covid response minister Chris Hipkins has told Checkpoint. “We are looking to see if there are ways we can get supply into the country, working with Pfizer, to sustain an average of that rate. Worst case scenario, if we can’t, is we drop back to an average more like 60,000-65,000 a day, which we would be able to sustain.” Hipkins didn’t anticipate having to cancel appointments already made, but “we might not be doing all the walk-ins and the drive-throughs”.
Asked three times by Lisa Owen whether they’d asked any other countries whether they could sell New Zealand Pfizer vaccines, Hipkins three times said, “We’re exploring a range of options.”
He categorically denied reports that he had previously asked Pfizer to slow down deliveries.
4.10pm: Auckland to remain in lockdown for two more weeks; Northland on track to drop to level three on Thursday night
Auckland will remain at alert level for another two weeks, the prime minister has confirmed, until 11.59pm on September 14. Cabinet will meet on September 13 to review this decision.
Speaking at parliament, Jacinda Ardern announced that Northland will spend another three days under level four and, pending any new Covid-19 cases during that period, will shift down to alert level three at 11.59pm this Thursday.
As announced last week, everywhere south of Auckland will drop to alert level three from 11.59pm tomorrow night. This will initially be for a period of one week, Ardern said, and will be reviewed on September 6.
For Auckland to move down alert levels, the government will need to be confident that delta is not circulating undetected in the community, said Ardern. Any cases we may have will need to be contained an isolated. Holding up another of her famous print-off graphs, the PM said the number of new cases today could have been around 550 if we hadn’t locked down.
While it would be too premature to say we have a trend, level four is making a difference, said Ardern. “Auckland is doing a huge service for all of us,” said Ardern. “Auckland has done it tough for all of us.”
“Not just now but throughout this pandemic it’s Auckland that has maintained our gateway to the world, that has done a lot of heavy lifting in welcoming Kiwis home safely, that has worked hard to keep the rest of New Zealand safe when there has been an outbreak.”
‘This is a very rare side effect’ – Bloomfield reassures after vaccine-related death
On recent criticism that the vaccine rollout may need to slow down, Ardern said around 840,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are already in the country and weekly deliveries will continue. “Our planning has been for the programme to deliver 350,000 doses per week. There has been a surge in demand and we’re doing much bigger numbers. We are working on a strategy to meet demand with more vaccine in the country.
“If we’re unable to do this we’ll pull back to our planned volume, which would still mean 350,000 doses delivered in a week,” the PM said.
Regarding the announcement today of a vaccine-related death, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield moved to reassure people about the safety of the jab. “I recognise it will be a worry for some people, and I do want to reassure people that the vaccine is a lot safer than being infected with Covid-19, this is a very rare side effect.”
Bloomfield added: “The safety profile of this Pfizer vaccine is very very good.”
Ardern said following transmission of the virus at four essential workplaces, the government is looking at how more guidance on safe operating can be given to essential businesses. The transmission has been largely in food services or distribution, where we as a country are reliant on them continuing, said Ardern.
A reminder: You do not need ID to get a Covid-19 vaccine
Following reports that several Pasifika families in the Bay of Plenty needed to show their passports to get the Covid-19 jab, Bloomfield said this may have been in order to find someone’s NHI number.
“Everybody in the programme is very aware … that no one is required to show identification,” said Bloomfield. He had been assured that no group of people was being targeted.
Asked if she wished to apologise for the mishap, Ardern diverted to Bloomfield.
Bloomfield encouraged by drop in new cases, but urges caution
Acknowledging the drop in new community cases today – 53 down from 83 yesterday – director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said “it is just one data point”. However, Bloomfield said he was encouraged by the result, which is the lowest number of new cases in five days.
“Of note, 52% of cases reported yesterday are household contacts of an existing case, confirming the high rates of household transmission,” added Bloomfield. “Of yesterday’s 83 case, 72% did not create any new exposure events, implying that they have been isolating since lockdown started.” In other words, 28% of yesterday’s cases are considered to have been infectious while in the community.
4.00pm: While we wait…
A little laugh, courtesy of MP Carmel Sepuloni, while we wait for the PM to speak.
That moment when you’re doing a LIVE interview via Zoom & your son walks into the room shouting & holding a deformed carrot shaped like a male body part. 🙄🤦🏽♀️ Yes, we were almost wrestling over a carrot on camera, and yes, I’m laughing about it now but wasn’t at the time! 🥴 pic.twitter.com/oUbcpt8tSu
— Carmel Sepuloni (@CarmelSepuloni) August 30, 2021
3.50pm: Watch – Ardern, Bloomfield, to reveal next steps for Auckland lockdown
Auckland and Northland are waiting to find out just how long they will remain in alert level four lockdown.
Last week, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she expected Auckland would spend another two weeks in total lockdown, with Northland set to remain under restrictions for some of that period. The decision to extend Northland’s lockdown was sparked by a case in Warkworth with links to an aged care facility.
We’ll have all the details from 4pm or tune into the presser below.
3.40pm: Vaccine benefits ‘far outweigh’ risks – expert
Earlier today it was reported that a woman in New Zealand had died after suffering a rare side effect to the Covid-19 vaccine. In comments provided via the Science Media Centre, Otago University microbiologist James Ussher explains what happened – and why:
This is a dreadfully sad and unfortunate case, and represents one of the first deaths in the world from myocarditis following vaccination with an mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna).
Myocarditis has been identified as a rare side effect following vaccination with the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. An Israeli study that has just been published reported that myocarditis occurred in 2.7 per 100,000 persons vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. Of note, the same study found that the risk of myocarditis with Covid-19 was four times higher (11.0 per 100,000 persons infected).
Hundreds of millions of doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered globally. To date, the vast majority of cases of myocarditis following vaccination with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have been mild, with resolution of both symptoms and inflammation with anti-inflammatories.
The benefits of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 far outweigh the risks, with recent data from the United States showing a massive 25-fold reduction in the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19 in vaccinated individuals.
3.30pm: Is it time for level 4.5?
Cabinet has today considered imposing tougher restrictions on essential workers as the country prepares for split alert levels.
From midnight tomorrow, Auckland and Northland will remain under the tougher level four restrictions while the rest of the country will move down to level three. Despite the creation of an Auckland border, essential workers will be able to travel around the country provided they have valid proof.
Epidemiologist Rod Jackson told RNZ that if Covid-19 continued to spread due to the movement of essential workers, the government may need to consider imposing stricter restrictions on movement. “If it gets into the essential workers it’s going to spread more rapidly so that’s a really big deal,” he said.
Under a level 4.5, all essential workers may need to be vaccinated and be required to wear N95 masks, he said.
3.15pm: Drug Foundation targets drug users with new ‘judgment-free’ platform
The Drug Foundation has launched a new platform specifically for people who use drugs.
As reported by the Herald, The foundation’s deputy executive director Ben Birks Ang said “The Level” will allow drug users to “get nuanced, judgment-free advice from experts”.
He added: “If we only start the conversation about drug use when people are in crisis, we miss most people who use drugs. At the moment, most people are only offered support once their use is heavily impacting their life. Starting these conversations and providing information early can prevent people’s use from getting to that point.”
3.05pm: Second party announces plan to skip level four parliament
The Green Party has joined the Māori Party in boycotting parliament while Wellington is at alert level four.
“All Green MPs and staff will work from home,” said co-leader Marama Davidson. “By blocking the ability for parliament to meet remotely, National and ACT are selfishly choosing to risk the lives of our whānau and communities for political posturing.”
Once Wellington moves down to level three at midnight tomorrow, one Green MP will be present in the debating chamber.
“Politicians are supposed to be part of the team of five million – we should be role models for the health advice, not exceptions to it,” added Davidson.
1.50pm: Sunday record for vaccination rollout – but are we going to run out?
Yesterday saw 47,897 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine administered – a record for a Sunday.
Of those, 36,476 were first doses and 11,421 were second doses. More than 3.33 million doses of the vaccine have now been administered to date.
Hipkins admits giving wrong information to media
Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins has admitted he was a month out with comments he made about vaccines arriving into the country.
As Stuff reports, Hipkins told media earlier this year that all 10 million ordered doses of the vaccine would arrive by the end of September. Now, that’s been pushed out to October with Hipkins admitting he made a mistake.
“I was advised that agreement had been reached with Pfizer for all our vaccines to arrive by October, which I interpreted to be in the third quarter,” Hipkins said.
“I was subsequently advised the delivery schedule was through to the end of October. I accept that my statement at the time was not totally correct.”
National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop said the miscommunication was “unfortunate”.
“It’s pretty extraordinary that we are now in a situation where the government is trying to manage demand down – at the very time where we should be going for as many vaccinations as possible,” he said.
1.35pm: Could we be flattening the curve?
Speaking to RNZ, Covid-19 modeller Shaun Hendy greeted today’s cases numbers with cautious optimism. “We do have to watch trends as opposed to daily counts, but on the other hand the numbers coming down is great. If this trend sustains itself over the coming days, we’re over that peak, and we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this outbreak,” he said. “Today might be the first sign that we’re actually trying to bend the curve down.”
Asked whether he’d like to see more details about which cases were transmitted in the community, rather than in bubbles, he said: “That information is really useful. It does take time to put together … It may take time for frontline contact tracers to establish links. But what we’d like to see over time is the overall numbers declining and a lower number of cases linked to locations of interest and a higher proportion of cases linked to household contacts.”
Given the absence of cases outside Auckland, Hendy said, “I would think that Northland can anticipate being let out [of level four] a little earlier than Auckland.”
1.15pm: 53 new community Covid-19 cases, all in Auckland
There are 53 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, all in Auckland. This brings the total number of active cases in the community outbreak to 562.
Of those, 547 cases are in Auckland while 15 are in Wellington.
There are 522 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 42 for which links are yet to be fully established.
There are currently seven epidemiologically-linked subclusters identified within this outbreak. The two largest clusters are the Birkdale Social Network cluster (79 confirmed cases), and the Māngere church cluster (280 confirmed cases).
Of the current community cases, 37 cases are in hospital – 32 are in a stable condition on a ward and five cases are in a stable condition in ICU. Two cases are in North Shore Hospital, 20 are in Middlemore Hospital, 14 are in Auckland City Hospital, and one is in Wellington Regional Hospital.
In addition to two recovered community cases in Auckland, one other case in a MIQ facility has now also recovered. Therefore, the total number of active cases being managed in New Zealand is currently 603.
On the contact tracing front, the ministry said 34,120 individual contacts have now been identified. Of these, around 87% have had a test. “The percentage of people who’ve had a test will continue to fluctuate as the total number of contacts continues to change,” said a spokesperson.
Crowne Plaza contacts test negative
All six people who were in the Crowne Plaza lobby at the same time as the earliest identified case in the community outbreak have all received negative day 12 results, the ministry said.
Yesterday, 16,370 tests were processed across New Zealand with 15,000 of those in Auckland alone.
“There are 26 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today, this includes four invitation-only testing centres for high-risk groups and to prioritise essential health care workers, six regular community testing centres and 16 pop-up testing centres,” said the Ministry of Health.
“The community testing centres at Wiri and Balmoral are operating extended hours this week and will stay open until 8pm to supplement existing testing in Urgent Care Clinics.”
The seven-day rolling average of tests is 34,260.
Meanwhile, ESR has now run whole genome sequencing on samples taken from around 345 community cases. Analysis of these samples has determined they are all genomically linked to the current outbreak.
1.00pm: Latest Covid-19 numbers to come via press release
A little 1pm reminder that there is no stand-up until 4pm this afternoon. The Ministry of Health will instead be sending out a press release any minute now with the latest Covid-19 data.
As reported earlier, we’re expecting around 50 new cases to be confirmed today – a sharp drop from recent days although it’s still too early to know for sure if we’re out of the woods.
I’ll have the full press release from the ministry as soon as it arrives.
Meanwhile… while you’re here! We are doing our utmost to keep you updated on all Covid-19 related coverage. Every dollar our members contribute directly funds our editorial team and is devoted to ensuring we do more. Click here to learn how you can support the team today.
12.45pm: Woman dies after rare side effect to Pfizer vaccine
A woman has died after suffering a rare side effect to the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Covid-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board (CV-ISMB) believe that the woman’s death was due to myocarditis caused by the Pfizer jab.
“The case has been referred to the coroner and the cause of death has not yet been determined,” said the Ministry of Health. “The CV-ISMB considered that the myocarditis was probably due to vaccination. The CV-ISMB noted that there were other medical issues occurring at the same time which may have influenced the outcome following vaccination.”
This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer vaccine.
Of course, as the ministry added, the benefits of vaccination continue to “greatly outweigh the risk” of possible side effects. “The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from COVID-19, and we remain confident about using it in New Zealand,” said CV-ISMB chair John Tait.
- Ten common misconceptions about the Covid-19 vaccine, debunked
- The NZ Covid-19 vaccine and side effects – explained
- Siouxsie Wiles & Toby Morris: How the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19 works
12.30pm: Māori Party won’t travel to parliament under level four
Māori Party co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi have labelled the decision to host a physical parliament while the country is in lockdown “reckless”. In a press statement, the pair confirmed they will not travel to Wellington while alert level restrictions on gatherings are in place.
“It is a reckless move by National and Act to intentionally disregard expert advice, for the sake of egos and politicking, and we are concerned that the prime minister is allowing for them to make this determination on their own and put us all at risk of taking Covid back to our vulnerable communities” said Waititi.
Ngarewa-Packer added: “There is no reason why we cannot conduct parliamentary business via zoom; it’s the 21st century. We are no longer in the dinosaur age and so they could very well do with some support in coming into the digital era.”
As noted by the co-leaders, the decision not to hold parliament virtually went against health advice from director general of health Ashley Bloomfield. “It is not advisable that MP’s participate in a large indoor gathering for an extended period of time, or travel inter-regionally to do so, while the Covid-19 risk to New Zealand remains high,” he said.
12.05pm: Extremely Online – Welcome to the Metaverse
One day we could all be working in it, socialising in it, even living in it… So what actually is the Metaverse? Let this week’s episode of Extremely Online from the Shit You Should Care About team explain.
11.50am: ‘About 50 cases’ expected today – source
There could be a drop-off in the number of new Covid-19 community cases announced today.
A source has confirmed to The Spinoff that the number circulated by officials since the 9am close-off is “about 50 cases”. That number matches reporting by the NZ Herald this morning, with the publication claiming the number of new cases will be “just over 50” and all in Auckland.
That would be an encouraging sign that we’re past the peak of the outbreak, but experts have warned that the numbers may go up and down over this period, and we’ll also be looking at the volume of testing over the weekend. Cabinet is currently meeting to determine just how much longer Auckland and Northland will remain in alert level four, with the rest of the country set to drop down to level three tomorrow night.
We won’t know for certain how many new community cases there are today until the Ministry of Health update this afternoon. That’ll be by press release at about 1pm.
10.50am: Auckland market shop linked to delta outbreak three times over past week
A west Auckland market shop has now been linked to the Covid-19 delta outbreak three times in as many days, all within the past week.
Tasi Market in Massey was visited by a confirmed case on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Two of those visits have been listed as almost 12 hours, indicating the individual could be a worker (although this has not been confirmed).
With the majority of locations of interest identified prior to the lockdown, it’s of concern that this one location has now been linked to the outbreak as recently as August 28.
View all the locations of interest below or click here to check out other snappy maps.
Desktop: click and drag to navigate or use ctrl (Windows) / ⌘ (Mac) while scrolling to zoom in and out, hover for name and time stamps for the location. Mobile: drag and pinch to zoom and out, click for name and time stamps for the location. App users: if the map isn’t working, click here to load in-browser
9.50am: What’s gone wrong with Bluetooth tracing?
Andrew Chen explains:
We know that contact tracing is a critical part of our ability to contain any outbreak of an infectious disease. Bluetooth tracing, offered through NZ Covid Tracer, is part of that process in New Zealand. Or at least, it should be. Technical folks over the last week have noticed that the most recent Bluetooth data made available to the NZ Covid Tracer app was on August 17 – the day we found out about Case A with the delta variant and the country went into lockdown. No Bluetooth keys have been uploaded to the central server since then, despite there being 511 positive cases at the time of writing. This therefore means that there have been very, very few Bluetooth-based exposure alerts sent to users. So why is there no Bluetooth tracing data when there have been many locations of interest and related alerts sent out for QR code-based locations?
9.15am: 60 people in isolation after positive wastewater test at Auckland barracks
Wastewater testing at Devonport Naval Base on Auckland’s north shore has revealed a positive case of Covid-19.
Devonport was the initial epicentre of the current Covid-19 outbreak, with Case A and his wife living in the suburb.
According to Stuff, about 60 officers and Naval ratings are in isolation at the nearby barracks, which is in total lockdown. The accommodation has been housing military personnel who have been working at managed isolation facilities.
So far, 54 of those in lockdown have tested negative with eight tests still outstanding. “All personnel at Narrow Neck will remain in isolation in accordance with Ministry of Health protocols,” said a spokesperson.
The decision to lock down the base was made after a positive wastewater result from a sample taken on August 23. However, a subsequent wastewater test on Thursday was negative for Covid-19.
Speaking to media this morning, associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said she was aware of the positive result but did not know the facility was in full lockdown. She would not reveal any further details ahead of the 1pm statement.
8.45am: From The Bulletin
Some of today’s top stories from our daily news wrap, The Bulletin.
Bluetooth tracing hasn’t been used in lockdown. The Bluetooth function on the Covid-19 contact tracing app has only been used once, in the hours before lockdown for Case A, according to Newsroom. About 40% of the adult population had it turned on at that time and the first alert yielded pings on the phones of 10 users. Despite 510 new cases since then, the ministry of health hasn’t used the function. The government has given two reasons: the “demographics” of the cases don’t use Bluetooth or contact tracers have forgotten to ask new cases for their Bluetooth data. The University of Auckland’s Andrew Chen has written a thorough explanation of what’s gone wrong.
Parliament resumes Tuesday after opposition rejects virtual alternative. A plan prepared by the Speaker’s office for virtual question time was given the thumbs down by the National Party and Act. It would have provided the opposition with fewer questions, but longer answers from the government, according to Stuff. The prime minister and Speaker said they were “disappointed” by the rejection. With both opposition parties calling for the return of an epidemic response committee, it’s unclear what concessions the plan would have made to them.
One group that won’t be returning to the house is the country’s reporters. The Speaker told members of the media over the weekend that he won’t allow them to use the debating chamber’s press gallery until further notice. Access was maintained under level three last year.
Chris Bishop stripped of portfolio over conversion therapy ban. The National party’s Covid-19 spokesperson, he’s still that, has lost his job as shadow house leader in what the NZ Herald reports was punishment for not strongly supporting the party’s vote against a conversion therapy ban. The shadow house leader is a pivotal position for keeping the party organised within parliament itself. It requires attention to excruciating detail and was a perfect fit for a political geek like Bishop. He was replaced by Michael Woodhouse.
This is part of The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s must-read daily news wrap. To sign up for free, simply enter your email address below
8.20am: ‘We are sorry’ – DHB apologises after Pasifika forced to show passports to get vaccine
The Bay of Plenty DHB has “unreservedly” apologised after it was reported several Pasifika families were required to show their passports in order to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
The bombshell report came from TVNZ’s Barbara Dreaver, who labelled it “a scene reminiscent of the dawn raids”. It’s been less than a month since the government issued its apology for its treatment of Pasifika during the 1970s and ’80s.
According to Dreaver, the families were asked to show their passport to prove they were not seasonal workers. Of course, as the government has made clear since the vaccine rollout began, everybody (aged 12+) in New Zealand can access the jab – no matter visa status.
“If you want the community to do their stuff to get their injections let them do it, they don’t need to have their ID or anything it’s really important for all the families out there to get their injections,” said Lisa Leaaepeni, one of those questioned by a vaccine provider.
In its apology, the DHB said asking for passports is “not our policy, nor a requirement, and we are deeply disappointed that this has happened”.
“Our commitment is to ensure that we address the issues that led to this failure and ensure it absolutely does not happen again.
We acknowledge, with regret, that this incident has affected trust and confidence in us among our Pasifika community. We have written to, and spoken with, our Pasifika provider partner today to express our apologies directly.”
The DHB said it would be connecting with community leaders to discuss the matter further and to look at advancing the health and wellbeing needs of the Pasifika community.
Verrall ‘very sorry’ over request for passport
The associate health minister Ayesha Verrall has also apologised over the news some Pasifika families were forced to show their passports in order to get the Covid jab.
Speaking to TVNZ, Verrall said it wasn’t good enough. “It’s never our intention that anyone should be asked for their passports,” she said.
“It’s very clear to us that we want everyone to participate and that there’s no cost, no requirement to prove citizenship, so absolutely unacceptable what happened in the Bay of Plenty.”
Verrall reiterated that the vaccine rollout should have nothing to do with your immigration status.
7.50am: Auckland and Northland wait for lockdown decision as case numbers plateau
The team of roughly 1.7 million across Auckland and Northland is waiting nervously for a decision on just how long it will need to spend under alert level four restrictions.
Cabinet will meet today to decide on next steps for the top of the country, after Jacinda Ardern last week indicated a further fortnight of lockdown could be necessary.
Yesterday saw another 83 new cases announced at 1pm, just a very slight increase on the number of new cases reported the day before. The plateau in new cases is seen by some experts as a positive sign that the nationwide lockdown is working. Speaking to RNZ, Covid-19 modeller Michael Plank said the next week would be the real test. “The week ahead is really the crunch week in terms of whether we start to see the numbers come down,” he said.
Positive wastewater test at Devonport Naval Base
It was associate health minister Ayesha Verrall on the media rounds this morning. While she could not confirm whether any new cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed overnight, she was aware of a positive wastewater test at the Devonport Naval Base had revealed a positive result. “I did know there was concern about a wastewater result there,” she told RNZ. “All of those need to be investigated but… these do happen from time to time. Sometimes it is not the result of infectious cases.”
The Herald has also reported a staff member at police headquarters in Auckland has tested positive.
On Newstalk ZB, Verrall told Mike Hosking there were some positive signs that the lockdown was working, namely the drop off in new locations of interest and the fact that most new cases were household contacts.
The next official update on Covid-19 cases will come via press release at 1pm with a post-cabinet press conference fronted by Jacinda Ardern at 4pm to reveal any changes to alert levels.
We are doing our utmost to keep you updated on all Covid-19 related coverage. Every dollar our members contribute directly funds our editorial team and is devoted to ensuring we do more. Click here to learn how you can support the team today.
What you need to know
- 83 new cases in the community were reported yesterday, bringing the total to 511.
- All of the country bar Auckland and Northland will be moving to alert level three on Wednesday.
- Cabinet will be reviewing Auckland’s alert level settings today (but the prime minister has indicated a further fortnight at level four is likely)