Parts of Waikato and Northland will remain in Alert Level 3 for a few more days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today.
He said Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, Step 1.
“Based on the latest public health information, ministers have decided that maintaining the status quo in Northland and parts of the Waikato is the safest course of action,” Mr Hipkins said.
This will be reviewed by Cabinet on Monday, 18 October, he said.
“The Waikato has done a phenomenal job in getting tested and getting vaccinated. However, this morning we were informed of two new cases that are as yet unlinked to the existing cluster.”
“Health believes the risk from these cases – a couple – is low and there will be few locations of interest. However we need to assure ourselves that there is not undetected transmission before lowering alert levels. Genome sequencing is underway and will hopefully shed new light on these cases.
“Unfortunately, we still don’t have confidence we have a full enough picture of the situation in Northland.
“Getting information from the two cases who travelled around the region while infectious and are now in quarantine, remains slow going.
“We may not get any further information from contact tracing interviews so are now relying on other sources of information to piece together their movements,” the minister said.
The best thing people in Northland can do right now is to get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19, even if these are mild, he said.
Over the last week, more than 7,000 swabs have been taken.
“That’s encouraging but to shift alert levels with high confidence we need even more testing over the next five days,” Mr Hipkins said.
“It’s also great to see Northlanders coming out to get vaccinated. There have been 19,691 vaccinations in the past seven days – that’s more than double the previous week.
“It’s really important to keep this going. When we see a high level of testing and vaccination, this gives us more confidence to move down the alert levels.
“Since the start of the Delta outbreak, of 158 people hospitalised, only 3 of those were fully immunised. This is the protection that the vaccine provides, and it is imperative that everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated as soon as possible.
“If you have any contact with any positive cases, visited a location of interest or have any symptoms, get tested as soon as possible,” Mr Hipkins said.
- In Alert Level 3, you should stay home. Most people are not permitted to travel. Those who can, must carry evidence that they are permitted to travel.
- You can’t travel into another Alert Level 3 or Alert Level 2 area without evidence of permitted travel across boundaries.
- The north and south Auckland checkpoints remain in place and people need to have evidence of their permitted reason to travel ready to be checked by police. Most people permitted to travel out of the Auckland region will need evidence of a COVID-19 test.
- Police are out in force patrolling the Waikato Alert Level 3 boundary. Those who are permitted must carry evidence that they are permitted to travel.
At every airport in the Alert Level 3 areas, officials are checking that passengers have evidence of permission to travel. At Auckland Airport, most people who are permitted to travel out of the Auckland will need evidence of having a negative test.