13 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, update on vaccine supply deal

New Zealand has signed a deal with Spain for 250,000 Covid-19 jabs to come here - enabling New Zealand to keep up significant, or even record, levels of vaccinations, Prime Minister Jacinda said.

It comes as director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield revealed 13 new Covid cases in the community.

The total in the outbreak is 868 - 264 have recovered.

There are 30 unlinked cases and of the new cases, more than half are linked to the current outbreak.

Of yesterday's cases, six were infectious in the community.

There are 31 people in hospital, including five in ICU or HDU and three requiring ventilation.

More than 17,000 tests yesterday and more than 8000 in Auckland. Bloomfield said that was helping giving the confidence the spread was restrained.

More pop-up testing was in place at supermarkets, to test essential workers. 23 community stations were also in place in Auckland.

Eighty-seven per cent of 38,126 contacts had now been tested.

Staff were continuing to come from around the country to help Auckland's hospitals, including ICU staff.

On the Middlemore case, day three test results from 124 patients and 29 staff had returned negative results. All were still in isolation.

Bloomfield encouraged businesses to display QR codes so they were accessible to those in wheelchairs.

Close to 1.6 million people scanned in yesterday, the first day of level 2 outside of Auckland.

Ardern said there was solid progress, but urged people to keep getting tested, to follow the rules and keep scanning.

"We need to test, test, test."

Ardern said, "If you give Delta an inch it will take a mile."

Vaccine deal

The Government has been negotiating with manufacturer Pfizer and a number of countries to get extra vaccine supplies.

Before lockdown the rollout had intended to vaccinate about 50,000 people a day by this point, but surging demand amid the Delta outbreak this had risen to 80,000 to 90,000 some days, averaging more than 500,000 a week.

With the bulk of supplies arriving next month, the Government risked having to slow the rollout to avoid running out of vaccines, so instead sought a deal with partner countries.

Ardern said new supplies would help maintain and build on the rollout.

An agreement with Spain has been reached for it to supply New Zealand with more than 250,000 doses.

They left Madrid at 1am today, and will arrive in New Zealand tomorrow morning.

"With this supply we will be able to continue our rollout at record levels,"

There are signs that the lockdown is working but it comes with a cost - Deputy PM and Finance Minister Grant Robertson told the AM Show a week in alert level 4 in Auckland and other restrictions in the rest of the country costs about $1 billion per week.

Businesses outside Auckland were still entitled to the wage subsidy if they could show that Auckland's alert level 4 or 3 was affecting their income - such as tourism operators.

But Auckland businesses wanted to know if they would also get help when their city moved to alert level 2.

Robertson said they would take "an ongoing look" at how businesses were coping and would continue to adapt.

But New Zealand's businesses had been open more days in the past 18 months than almost anywhere in the world.

If Cabinet was to decide next week to move Auckland to alert level 3, that would mean another two weeks of the wage subsidy.

For more information visit covid19.govt.nz.

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.