Seven cases of Covid-19 in the community, vaccine rollout to resume

Genome sequencing has confirmed NZ's Covid-19 outbreak is the Delta strain of the virus, and that it came from NSW, Australia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are giving today's Covid update at the Beehive.

There are now seven cases in the community, with two additional cases to report from the five announced this morning. A 20-year-old and 19-year-old are the latest cases, and are linked to the other cases.

One of the cases announced this morning is a 25-year-old teacher from Avondale College, and a 29-year-old male flatmate.

Click here to view the latest list of locations of interest 

The infected nurse worked four shifts without knowing she was infected, Bloomfield said.

The wife of yesterday's case has returned a second negative test.

Auckland Regional Public Health has identified 16 close contacts of the nurse and 14 have already been contacted.

Four of those contacts are fully vaccinated, three have had one dose and the remainder are unvaccinated.

The group of individuals are aged under 30.

Most of the cases identified have been in their 20s and have been "out and about", Bloomfield said. 

Two new 'major' locations of interest

Two major new locations of interest are the Auckland Central Church of Christ, that meets in Freemans Bay, and SkyCity Casino. The church had a service on Sunday, Bloomfield said. The visit to SkyCity Casino was Saturday night, possibly into Sunday morning,

"If you were in either of those locations, look out," Bloomfield said.

Contact tracers are reporting that when they are calling people, who have been exposed, they are at home.

"We need you to be at home, not out putting others at risk," said Ardern.

She pointed out that 633 cases were reported in NSW today.

Bloomfield also warned of those who have tested positive so far: "They have been out and about a lot and I am flagging that there will be large numbers of locations of interest."

Bloomfield thanked nursing and midwifery unions for withdrawing strike action scheduled for this week.

There were more than 2000 calls to Healthline overnight.

All testing centres are operating with extended hours until 8pm tonight.

Testing is underway in Thames, Coromandel town, including two pop up testing sites.

Anyone who is symptomatic or been at a location of interest are urged to get tested.

Rosedale wastewater testing results expected later today. Daily testing is taken from that site. Sampling from Whitianga town and other parts of the Coromandel are underway.

Bloomfield said hospitals are open and anyone who needs acute care should seek it. He advised people to ring their GP. Pharmacies are also open under alert level 4.

Healthline calls, testing centre update

Bloomfield thanked nursing and midwifery unions for withdrawing strike action scheduled for this week.

There were more than 2000 calls to Healthline overnight.

All testing centres are operating with extended hours until 8pm tonight.

Testing is underway in Thames, Coromandel town, including two pop-up testing sites.

Anyone who is symptomatic or been at a location of interest are urged to get tested.

Rosedale wastewater testing results expected later today. Daily testing is taken from that site. Sampling from Whitianga town and other parts of the Coromandel are underway.

Bloomfield said hospitals are open and anyone who needs acute care should seek it. He advised people to ring their GP. Pharmacies are also open under alert level 4.

Genome testing under way

Three positive cases from Sydney went through MIQ in New Zealand in August and genome sequencing is underway on these, the PM said.

The Government will contact all travellers from Australia into New Zealand during the relevant time frame to contact them and to find whether yesterday's case is linked to them.

Masks mandatory from tonight

From 11:50pm tonight, it will be mandatory for anyone aged over 12 to wear a mask when visiting essential services that remain open.

It will also be mandatory for staff working at those essential services to wear a mask. Mask wearing is mandatory for bus terminals and in taxis as well.

Vaccine programme resumes

There were 55,688 doses of the vaccine were given out yesterday - a new daily record for the vaccination programme.

Some vaccination in limited sites will restart this afternoon. The whole programme will resume throughout New Zealand from 8am tomorrow.

If your booking has been moved, you will be notified. Otherwise if you're booked for a vaccine in the next three days and you haven't heard anything, please go, Ardern said.

Those aged 40 or over can make online bookings for vaccines from today.

If you've had the vaccine you are less "much less likely to get sick or die" from Covid-19, Ardern said. But she said a few still get infected.

Ardern urged everyone to be cautious, no matter your vaccine status.

People who had flights booked but were not flying were urged to cancel them, rather than just not show up.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told Ardern that New Zealanders' response to the lockdown is "pretty good".

New Zealanders were plunged into lockdown overnight after a man in the Auckland community tested positive and woke to the news that the Delta variant of the virus has spread from the Devonport resident to at least four others, including a fully vaccinated Auckland City Hospital nurse.

The Ministry of Health will provide an assessment about the extent of likely spread in the community and the length of time the virus may have been circulating in the community.

There is still no link between the five community cases and New Zealand's border or managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQ).

The country moved into a snap lockdown last night after it was revealed a 58-year-old Devonport man, described by the Prime Minister as a "tradesperson", tested positive at his local GP.

It was revealed this morning that a co-worker of yesterday's case is also infected with the Delta variant.

Three contacts of the co-worker have also contracted the virus.

One of those is an Auckland nurse. Auckland City Hospital is preventing unnecessary movements between wards, testing all staff and patients on the ward the health professional worked on. It is also standing down, testing and isolating staff on the same ward.

Locations of interest have been updated today. They are confined to Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula so far. The Devonport man also visited seven private homes.

New Zealanders are being urged to only leave home if needed, and to wear a mask when they do.

"We know of instances where people have picked up Delta simply by walking past someone with it," the ministry said.

Anyone with cold or flu symptoms or who has visited a location of interest is being urged to get tested.

A number of lengthy queues have formed this morning at pop-up testing sites across Auckland.

Anyone waiting in line is reminded to be patient, pack food and water and wear a mask.

New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4 at midnight and will remain in lockdown for three days.

It is likely Auckland the Coromandel will stay in lockdown for seven days, the Prime Minister said.

Public health guidelines

  1. Stay home
  2. If you have to go out make sure you wear a mask
  3. Stay in your bubble and reduce contact with others
  4. Act as if you have Covid-19 and as if others around you do to 

For more information visit covid19.govt.nz.

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