PM Jacinda Ardern gives self-isolation trial details, 12 new cases in the community

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the seven-day rolling average of Covid cases in NZ is now 15, compared with 17 last week and 19 the week before.

He said that had happened in level 3. "We are making progress. Many of our clusters are now considered to be contained, or clusters are dormant."

There are only 4 active sub-clusters.

He said the young age profile of the cases had resulted in relatively low hospitalisation rates.

The test positivity rate was 0.2 per cent over the last seven days. "These are encouraging signs."

However, Bloomfield said Delta posed a significant risk. Around 2 per cent of people with Delta would die, and 6 per cent require hospitalisation - twice the rates of the Alpha variant.

He said the modelling from Shaun Hendy emphasised that the higher the vaccination rates, the lower the deaths and hospitalisations, and the less the need for restrictions.

"The pathway forward for each country needs to be travelled with care and thought." He said moving forward too soon put the unvaccinated and immune compromised at risk.

PM Jacinda Ardern noted the 5 million dose milestone for vaccinations. Eighty-two per cent of the eligible population in Auckland was now vaccinated.

Self-isolation travel trial

Ardern said in early August, the roadmap to reconnect New Zealand was released including a staged approach.

That included a self-isolation trial for some travellers.

Cabinet has decided the pilot would be capped at 150 people. It would focus on those who needed to travel for business, primarily in the private sector.

Ardern said it would be coupled with a testing and monitoring regime. It was only being offered to businesses because they had "some skin in the game".

Expressions of interest would open on Thursday.

They will remain open until 20 October.

RSE bubble

Further details are also expected to be released today about a one-way travel bubble with the Pacific for some workers to open in October.

It will mean Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will be able to come to New Zealand without having to go through MIQ.

The bubble will still have some conditions.

RSE workers will have to have received their first vaccination before departure. They will also need to undertake testing on day 0 and day 5 of their arrival in the country.

RSE workers will also have to isolate for seven days on arrival, but this does not need to be done at an MIQ facility.

12 Covid cases today

Meanwhile, there were 12 new Covid cases in the community announced today.

All of the cases are in Auckland and two of today's have yet to be linked to existing cases, the Ministry of Health says. All cases were in isolation or MIQ through their infectious period.

However, of yesterday's cases, 10 had been infectious in the community.

Thirteen people with Covid-19 are in hospital - four in ICU or a high-dependency unit.

There were 6906 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.

Over the weekend, the vaccination campaign passed five million doses, while slowing considerably.

Just 24,710 jabs were administered on Sunday, including an alarming 8182 first jabs.

The daily figure was less than a third of the peak daily rate at the end of August.

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