Prime Minister and Ashley Bloomfield give update on NZ's community cases, vaccine arrival

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to leave "no stone unturned" in the hunt for the source of the Valentine's Day Covid-19 outbreak.

Ardern said officials were "making good progress" in the investigation but work was still underway and the current alert levels will remain in place.

Ardern and director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are giving an update on the three Valentine's Day cases, all of which are within one family.

Reports from Auckland suggest the transition to alert level 3 has gone "reasonably well", says Ardern, with fewer people on public transport and out and about.

At 1.30pm today, 6861 workers received travel exemptions and more are being processed, the PM said. There is an average of 35 seconds wait time on the call line.

She confirmed the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the country about 9.30am on a flight - the first batch is 60,000 doses or 30,000 courses.

She said vaccines would continue to arrive in small batches.

The doses will now undergo quality assurance testing and everything is still on track for frontline border workers to start being vaccinated from Saturday.

Ardern wanted to remind New Zealanders the Government had ordered enough for everyone.

"We are very pleased to have reached a milestone today."

 The Government had already prepared a scenario that the vaccines would arrive from today.

The UK variant that the family have is "highly transmissible and a fast-moving chain" which requires fast action, said Ardern. It still has not been linked to a known case in MIQ.

Bloomfield said no further cases was "an encouraging sign" but said the days ahead would be crucial as the test results from the community surveillance in Auckland and Taranaki come through.

Serology testing has come back negative which confirms all three are active cases.

Testing and serology are happening on "Case B" - the mother - and there is "significant testing" happening at Papatoetoe High School.

There are 42 close contacts outside of the household, including some teachers and students - none have yet returned positive test results and the rest are still being processed.

Bloomfield said there had been a "good response" to testing in Auckland and Taranaki and repeated it was important only the "right people" were being tested.

The level changes will help stamp out any chains of transmission, said Bloomfield, and he thanked Kiwis and businesses for adhering to them.

Preparation for the vaccine roll-out is underway, including dry runs and establishing vaccination sites.

A number of vaccinators have completed the two-hour training module to administer the Pfizer vaccine.

Bloomfield reminded Kiwis the Pfizer vaccine was two doses about three weeks apart and it was important to get both.

"Covid-19 can feel like a roller-coaster that you haven't actually bought a ticket for," said Bloomfield.

There were no new confirmed cases in the community at 1pm today.

At the weekend, after the three people tested positive for Covid-19, Auckland was plunged back into alert level 3 and the rest of the country moved to alert level 2.

The family have been moved to the Auckland quarantine facility while a fourth member of the household has tested negative and is isolating at home.

The level change is in place for 72 hours while officials attempt to find the chain of transmission - and any other possible chains of transmission in the community.

Genomic testing results last night confirmed the family, from South Auckland, was infected with the highly infectious UK variant.

It was not linked to any current or former returnee in MIQ.

One of the working theories is that the mother caught it at her workplace - LSG Sky Chefs - where she handles laundry from international flights.

The woman and her colleagues were tested regularly because of their work but were all tested again in light of the outbreak.

Anyone connected to Papatoetoe High School - where the daughter goes to school - is being asked to stay home and isolate until they get information from the school.

Level 3 rules

* You legally must stay within your household bubble whenever you're not at work or school. You can expand this to connect with close family and whānau, bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. It's important to protect your bubble. Keep your bubble exclusive and only include people where it will keep you and them safe and healthy. If anyone within your bubble feels unwell, they legally must immediately self-isolate from everyone else within the bubble.

* Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends, extended family and whānau, to enter your home

* Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue, but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga

* Public venues legally must close. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets.

* Where possible the Ministry of Health encourages students to learn from home. Schools can safely open but will have limited capacity.

* You can travel within your local area, for example going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise. Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements

* Travel between regions is heavily restricted

* You should keep a distance of at least two metres in public and retail stores, like supermarkets and one metre in controlled environments, like workplaces and schools

* You're strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when you're outside your home and in a place where it's hard to stay two metres away from other people, like in shops. You legally must wear a face covering on public transport.

* If your business requires close physical contact it can't operate

* The Ministry of Health recommends your staff work from home if they can

* Businesses need to display a QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system

* The Ministry recommends making sure people either scan in or provide their contact details

* Customers cannot come onto your premises — unless you are a supermarket, dairy, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service

* Your business legally must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up legally must also be contactless

* Basic hygiene measures legally must be maintained. Physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers legally must stay home if they are sick

* Staff legally must remain a minimum of 1 metre apart at all times where practical. The ministry recommends other measures, such as PPE including face coverings, being used where appropriate.

* Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff. You can get further advice from the Ministry of Health

* You legally must meet all other health and safety obligations.

Level 2 rules

* No more than 100 people at social gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga

* Businesses can open, but they legally must follow public health rules. These include physical distancing and record keeping.

* Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible

* Talk with your staff to identify risks and ways to manage them.

* Ask everyone — workers, contractors and customers — with cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms to stay away from your premises

* Keep workers one metre apart and customers in retail businesses two metres apart

* Businesses are legally required to display a QR code and provide an alternative contact tracing system

* Face coverings are strongly encouraged if you are in close contact with others

* Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them. Wash your hands.

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