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9 new cases of Covid-19; 8 in the community - all linked to existing cases; 2 cases from over the weekend remain unlinked

9 new cases of Covid-19; 8 in the community - all linked to existing cases; 2 cases from over the weekend remain unlinked

There are nine new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today - eight confirmed and one probable.

Eight of the nine cases are linked to the Auckland cluster. One was imported from overseas and caught in managed isolation.

There are 10 people in hospital - two of whom are in intensive care.

Two unlinked cases reported over the weekend remain under investigation.

One is a man who presented himself to North Shore Hospital overnight on Friday. Genomic sequencing testing is being done to establish whether he’s linked to the main Auckland cluster or Rydges hotel maintenance worker.

The second unlinked case was discovered after someone got tested because their brother went to Hobbiton, which an infected person had visited.

However Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said this person could've contracted Covid-19 overseas, before arriving in New Zealand in June. He said testing done while this person was in managed isolation may not have detected the virus if he'd previously had it. 

In total, there are 123 active cases in New Zealand - 104 of which are in the community. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce Cabinet’s decision on the country’s alert levels at 3pm.

Bloomfield didn’t give away what advice he provided government ministers making the decision.

On Friday, he said he wouldn't only consider the number of cases, but also the pattern. In other words, whether new cases are linked to households, schools, workplaces and churches, so can be anticipated. 

Ardern on Friday said the criteria for moving alert levels includes, trends in the transmission of the virus, the capacity and capability of testing and contact tracing, the effectiveness of border measures and the capacity in the health system.

It also includes effects on local economies, at-risk populations, how people have been following rules and the ability to operationalise a new alert level.

Bloomfield said his aim in the future was for New Zealand to manage community cases of Covid-19 at Levels 1 and 2 and to avoid going to Level 3. He said "elimination" remained the strategy. 

Ardern on Friday made a similar comment, explaining there were factors with the Auckland cluster - the fact the outbreak was in a densely populated area and the origin couldn’t be tracked - that made a move to Level 3 necessary.

Here is a statement from the Ministry of Health:

There are nine new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today – eight confirmed cases and one probable case.

One confirmed case is an imported case picked up in MIQ at the Four Points by Sheraton in Auckland at routine testing around day 12. The person who has tested positive is a woman in her 30s and we will provide an update on where she travelled from when the information is available.

The other eight cases – seven confirmed and one probable - are in the community and are all linked to the Auckland cluster.

One of these had contact with another confirmed case on bus transport. Four are household contacts of confirmed cases. One has had contact with a confirmed case at a church. Two are workplace contacts – one of these is the probable case.

These cases bring our total number of confirmed cases to 1,332, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

Our total number of probable cases is now 351, and our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is now 1,683.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 123, of which 19 are imported cases from managed isolation facilities.

By this morning our contact tracing team had identified 2,300 close contacts of cases, of which 2,249 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.  

There are 151 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility. This includes 82 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.

Today there are 10 people in hospital who have COVID-19. Three people are in Auckland City Hospital, four people in Middlemore, two people in North Shore Hospital and one person in Waikato Hospital.

The new person in Auckland City Hospital is linked to the community cluster and was transferred from the quarantine facility late on Sunday.

Eight people are on a ward, and two people in Middlemore are in ICU.

Hospitals in Auckland continue to manage COVID-19 patients using appropriate infection prevention and control protocols ensuring hospitals remain safe for patients, visitors and staff.

Laboratories completed 4,589 tests yesterday, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 697,070.

In the last seven days, labs have processed nearly 100,000 tests for COVID-19.

People who have symptoms of COVID-19, or who are concerned about potential exposure, should continue to seek advice from their GP or Healthline on getting a test.

NZ COVID Tracer

There are now more than 1,770,000 people registered to use the NZ COVID Tracer app – this is more than 43% of the population aged 15 and over.

We have been really encouraged to see the uptake of the app – it is great that New Zealanders are clearly aware of the importance of keeping a record of their movements. These recent cases have shown us that the ability to be able to quickly trace and isolate contacts of cases is key to stamping out this virus.

There have been well over a million scans every day for the past 7 days.

There are now 313,119 QR codes that have been created.

The number of QR codes being created has reduced significantly over the last three days, indicating that almost all New Zealand businesses now have their QR codes in place.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

80 Comments

Seams improbable to me that we have captured every case & that if we go to level 2 the virus will start to spread again.

I guess this is where the rubber meets the road. Do we
a) Go into level 2, essentially accepting COVID19 (at least low levels of it)
b) Stay at level 3 & try to completely eliminate the cluster

Think there will be a blow back either way.

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Jaws of a dilemma methinks. Politically the government must be aware of a strong backlash from the Auckland community in general if level 3 is not relaxed this week. Too much doubt has now been vented, in public, for long enough to question the stringency of the lockdown policies overall in the first place. Economic and livelihood considerations are fast tipping the scales of public opinion.

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Currently, it's too dangerous in Auckland. Nine new cases today is far too many to feel comfort.

Level 3 MUST be continued.

To hell with the economy and the housing market.....

People matter far more.

TTP

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This is always an emotional and irrational view to take. The economic down turn and quarantine have a mortality rate themselves. The question is where is the point of minimum impact. Grant it the economic and mental mortality rate is much more speculative than medical deaths.

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The cost of the lockdown falls on people. Some are saying "to hell with unrealistic dreams of perfection and political point scoring... people matter far more"

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The longer the lockdown continues, the more likely it will be eliminated. If it is only suppressed, we are only kicking the ball down the road, and Auckland will then probably need another lockdown, similar to Victoria, and but that time it will likely be rampant throughout NZ too. That will have far greater cost. Another few weeks in lockdown for Auckland is a far cheaper option, than kicking the can down the road and 'hoping' that that won't cause cases to blow out. But the fact is that the infection rate R0 difference under level 3 vs level 2 is significantly lower.

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That is a certainly a good argument for prolonging the level 3 lockdown. I think to acheive elimination now you would need level 3 for at least another 4 weeks. I imagine that the spread will start again when Auckland goes to level 2 on Sunday. Like you say to axheive elimination in the future will be incredibly difficult. I'm thinking 6-8 weeks at level 4, followed by 4 weeks at level 3, for the whole country. Depends how bad the spread is.

The alternative is the govt quietly adopts a suppression strategy & we get stuck at level 2.5 till a vaccine.

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V likely Ardern will leave L3 on til Monday morning

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I think so too. Maybe Thursday release would have been on if we'd had 1 case again, but 9 is a lot, even if all epidemiologically linked. So I agree with the 4 day extension being the most likely, and an outside chance of 1 week.

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There's no point going to Monday - come Friday all bets are off and Aucklanders will be back at the beaches and lining up for coffees all weekend.

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There's still a certain amount of control with workplaces that can and cannot open.

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I think a bit more detail is needed on where new cases are coming from - after two weeks of lockdown these new cases had to have been infected after the lockdown started. How did that happen? Was it in homes or workplaces or churches or what? Ie was it 'baked in' due to cohabitation with already infected, or is it due to lockdown being ignored.

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It's only been 8 days since the first positive.. plenty of time for transmittal prior to that where people then take time to go symptomatic and spread the virus. If it takes 48hrs to trace 80% then the untraced 20% can still spread until they are contacted. Auckland's population density will be making contact tracing a nightmare. Sitting in a bus for the average trip would be a case in point - only 15mins of close contact required for infection, so potentially 10 - 12 people just there - in one trip.

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If they decide to extend IMHO, they need to enact a hard closure of the boarder. Its not fair that Aucklander's have to suffer from from this second lockdown on account that the govt feels the idea of "closing the boarder to NZ citizens is reprehensible". Either that or start quarantining them elsewhere in the country so next time there is an outbreak another part of the country suffers the economic & social ramifications of a hard lockdown. Auckland has done more than its part for the team of 5 million

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Therein lies the heart of the problem when you have a nation dominated by the one major city. That creates centralisation of political sway, business hubs, and people. And in this case the greatest percentage of incoming international activity has connected with the greatest percentage of population density. Too many eggs in the one basket then? Don’t mean that as knocking Auckland, far from it, just trying to describe the consequences of the reality of it all.

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International flights can be diverted to Ohakea AFB, and all arrivals interned there away from major population centres.

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Yeah , I was thinking Ohakea would be ideal .

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Hahaha you're joking right? Do you actually seriously think Ohakea, with no proximity to large medical facilities, limited accomodation facilities, limited infrastructure could even remotely be capable of performing that function??

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And Whangaparaoa was? Remember all the way back in Feb when we actually isolated everyone from Wuhan who flew back, just to be safe? And then immediately forgot how to do that?

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That was, what, all of 300 people total?

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We used Whangaparaoa when the numbers coming in were low, there weren't that many flying directly from Wuhan. The situation has changed now with 100's returning each week, Whangaparaoa simply wouldn't cope.

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No, it was an indicator how seriously we took the risk of people coming back into the country with the virus. And then we stopped doing that, and our MIQ facilities let people mingle with the general population, didn't test people before they left isolation, etc. We don't talk about it because it kind of unwinds the 'hard and early' thing.

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Here's the thing GV, I wouldn't vote Labour or support them if you held a gun to my head but given the numbers they have done pretty well - it can't be denied. I also firmly believe the opposition wouldn't have done any better. The authorities were working on the advice they were receiving from overseas and were dealing with an ever changing situation. In my book, they did OK, not perfect but better than most.

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The virus doesn't care how our response measures of to others. It's not something it takes into account before spreading. You might be happy for us to to ride our luck given the low bar that Trump et al are setting for a response, but I would prefer we actually had a properly competent response that at the very least did what it said on the tin. Currently we have lots of room for improvement.

I also don't believe what a hypothetical National government which doesn't exist is really relevant... but go on, convince me that Bill English, noted pro-lifer, staunch Catholic and married to a GP would have eschewed medical evidence and thrown thousands of Kiwis to the wolves.

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How about hypothetical Judith Collins who wanted to import far greater volumes of students, for whom we don't have the managed isolation space so would have ended up somewhere...self isolation in uni halls?

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Getting a bit off track there GV. No one is comparing NZs response to others, certainly not me. I'm just saying that like them or loathe them the current response by the authorities and Govt has gone well, overall.

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It really doesn't matter where the airport is, just use a bus straight from tarmac to quarrantine. Bus drivers can be in a sealed off compartment away from passengers.

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Gee what a great idea! Now we'd have people sitting in bus for a lengthy period of time so instead of 1 or 2 cases we'd have 60 at a time.. marvelous

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Are you listening to yourself? They've just arrived on an international flight with the same group of people.

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The air in a bus doesn't get changed 3-4 times an hour, it does in an aircraft, that's why we don't have several hundred overseas cases at the MIQs. Maybe you should think of some less simplistic options

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Are you watching yourself make up grand plans that would surely - surely! - work brilliantly while blasting the real life performance of folk professionally involved as useless?

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.. or they could actually get their shit together and do the testing of the border workers that they claim they have been .

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Heads up donny boy, returning NZ citizens and PRs have a legal right to return. Auckland has the highest concentration of facilities capable of accepting returnees, two large hospitals and the infrastructure to cope. It's also got an airport capable of managing the passenger load and aircraft type. All these factors combined make Auckland the only viable choice. It's also (unfortunately for Auckland) easier to control movements in and out of. This is only 3 weeks of targeted restriction, be thankful for that.

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Ah yes, every time airports are closed due to terror or bad weather the government is violating my legal right to return. Perhaps, in a global pandemic, people need to be a bit pragmatic about this kind of thing.

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FFS!! no NZ airport has ever been closed due to terror threats and bad weather merely diverts or delays the flight. Easy for you to call for pragmatism when you're not the one trying to get home

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Lol. Good one. Airports are closed all the time. Sometimes for days on end (Snow/Fog).

Also, commercially, any airlines including Air NZ could suspend or terminate services - or they could up their prices to $100,000 per seat. After all they are private entities.

Or is there some human right to international air travel that I have missed?

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Can you actually name one international airport in NZ that was closed for days on end (Snow/Fog) EVER???
There is a legal right for NZ citizens to return to NZ at will. I can't believe some people STILL haven't got their heads around that

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Off the top of my head, Wgtn was closed for several days due to fog, either earlier this year or last year. You can google for the exact dates.
AKLD was closed numerous days last year for periods (granted not days but it is entirely plausible for this to happen)
Ruapehu shuts down airtraffic to the entire North Island, pretty much every time it erupts.
An earthquake in Wgtn, or volcanoes in Akld and I am pretty sure that the Airports will be shut regardless of "rights"

The point is, it is a right to return. Not a right to be returned. Or in simpler terms. The legal right is present at the border. The onus is on the individual to get to the border, to claim that right.

To suggest otherwise is implying that the onus is on the Govt to return every single citizen overseas home. Think about the actual implications of that interpretation.

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OK, let's pick that apart, WGTN isn't an international airport capable of taking long haul direct link jets, so you can take them off the list. Ruapehu is a domestic airport (and that's a stretch) and the mountain has erupted once in the last 20yrs. The dormant volcanoes in Auckland have about as much chance of erupting as there is of growing pineapples in Antarctica - not impossible but highly unlikely in the foreseeable future. At no time did I suggest the Govt must return expats, but I did say they have a legal right to be accepted on presentation at the border, so if they can buy a ticket NZ is duty bound to accept them.

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Ok, lets look at it.
1. You asked for examples of NZ airports being closed. I gave them. Ngarahoe erupted

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Actually read the post again.. I typed slowly so even you should have no issues, but I'll recap - I asked for an example of a NZ airport ever being closed due to a terror threat - never happened. I then said any NZ airport closed due to bad weather resulted in the flight being delayed or diverted. Perhaps I should have been more specific for you and included the phrase "international", oh that's right I did
. I was talking about what has actually happened not what might happen, i.e. the comments about pineapples. Govts don't change laws overnight, there's a thing called parliamentary process which is lengthy and drawn out. Countries the world over have the same policy regarding repatriation of citizens and it is highly unlikely to change.. nor should it.

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Two words - Under Urgency.

Also, You said international airport, I gave you one - Wellington. I can also say Queenstown from personal experience.

Your arguement is around human rights. I have addressed it. Although terrorist threats were mentioned (not by me), no one was implying that NZ airports have shut because of one. The point being made (clearly over your head) was that airports shut all the time, and that this is not a breach of your human rights.

Stopping you entering the country in the midst of a global pandemic (that no one foresaw or expected) is not breaching your human rights. It is protecting the rights of every other person in the country.

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No, I'm the one here dealing with lockdowns while Kiwis overseas insist on their right to come back to a country during a global pandemic and can therefore be the only potential vector for the virus getting into the country. I am genuinely sympathetic for those caught out on short holidays who have not be able to get back, but not for those who have opted out of tax residency who suddenly feeling like coming 'home' despite not having lived here for years. But sure, I'm one the who's not being pragmatic.

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If you don't like the law then lobby to change it. Currently it is what it is. Honestly, I don't see any difference between your situation and an expat Kiwi who is going through the same struggles. You also fail to allow for FIFO workers who ARE tax resident in NZ - of which there are many, peoples children on OEs, company workers on exchanges and others. Remember the Govt has extended financial help to NZrs who need it. Inbound expats get none of that. So perhaps I was wrong.. you're being self centered more than lacking pragmatism.

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Exactly. At some point people have to accept that just because reality isn't in their favour, doesn't mean it is breaching their individual rights.

As a NZ Citizen, I have the right to live in a Covid Free country, where my family is safe.

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So what makes you any different to the people I mentioned above pray tell??

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If so that will the final straw for a decent chunk of Auckland's economy.
Hospo / retail desperately needs this weekend.

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Fritz the "hospo/retail" industry in Auckland CBD relied on tourism primarily. Unfortunately that income stream has diminished severely, so there will be those who fail and those who survive. It's no different to the same tribulations experienced in Whakatane after the White Island eruption. Some will close and some will survive. Those who are in business know these risks are prevalent and (should) factor them into their business plans. Those who don't will fail.. it's a hard but constant reality of retail businesses

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Businesses like certainty. If this government had any consistent rationale, we would all be able to predict today's decision on Covid-19 restriction levels after nine new cases being announced.

But this government has had no consistent rationale in dealing with this virus, so nobody knows what will be announced.

They've obviously lost control of the virus. Random people turning up to hospital emergency wards and testing positive is bordering on a worst case scenario, yet who knows, maybe Ardern will put Auckland to Level 2 simply because pressure on the economy is becoming too great.

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"Random people turning up to hospital emergency wards and testing positive is bordering on a worst case scenario"

Did this actually happen?

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Yes it did. Bloomfield said someone turned up to North Shore Hospital's ED with no close contacts and no epidemiological link. He then entertained the "burning embres" theory, which means the virus may never have been eliminated. It's also a great cover for the virus getting through the border.

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As well as providing a hook for the ignorant to peddle their theories.

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Thanks missed that part. Last week it was the "Americacold, came in by fright theory", now we have "burning embres".

They can't seam to accept they have failed on the boarder three times that we have known about
1) The initial outbreak in March
2) The current South Auckland cluster
3) Myster Rydges case.

The quarantine system is obviously failing. To me its binary either "hard close" the boarder or accept covid19.

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You mean border, not boarder.

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I do, it won't happen again I promise

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Write it out 100 times before sunrise.

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Hearing the news that bus drivers ferrying passengers from the airport to the quarantine hotels were told wearing of face masks was voluntary I realised we actually have no chance of containing this virus.

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"He (A Bloomfield) said his aim in the future was for New Zealand to manage community cases of Covid-19 at Levels 1 and 2 and to avoid going to Level 3."

Is that an indirect admission that we are going to have to live with CV, rather than eliminate it?

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No.

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Straight after saying this, Bloomfield said elimination remained the strategy. 

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Can't wait for the dominant political narrative to swing in behind this despite punishing anyone who suggested it was an inevitable outcome for the last god knows how long. Soon it will be a pragmatic and well-judged change in approach, just like every other time the thing that was apparently a super bad idea worthy of ridicule suddenly becomes a brave and courageous change of tack.

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Cynical GV, cynical! Certainly true nonetheless.

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Depends. Are you fellows hearing what you want to hear before it's been said?

The alternative is that Bloomfield is hoping that people will become more accustomed to taking the issue seriously and mitigation measures - masks, tracing, social distancing - and their behaviour will reduce the need for harder lock downs.

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Well said. I think that's exactly what Bloomfield is hinting at - albeit probably in a somewhat hopeful but quietly sceptical manner. He knows NZ won't move to mass adoption until the wolf is inside the front door and sitting on the lounge floor, by which time it'll be too late.

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Looks that way.
Who changed Level 4 Eliminate to Level 4 Lockdown?

https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19/alert-system/alert-system-overview/

Level 1. Prepare
The disease is contained in New Zealand

Level 2. Reduce
The disease is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains.

Level 3. Restrict
High risk the disease is not contained.

Level 4. Lockdown.
Likely that disease is not contained.

Note: MoH have changed the language.
From your at home Covid-19 poster
Level 4. Eliminate.
Likely that disease is not contained.

Who swapped Eliminate for Lockdown?

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Does it really matter what they call the various levels.. would you prefer LvL 4 - WE'RE F@#$KED!!!

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Looks like they [all of Government response] have taken elimination off the table.
Was there, now gone.
Who knew.

Next question. What is the all of government's exit plan? How, when expected, will NZ population merge with international population, what is that health event expected to look like?

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No, they took Eliminate off because when the poster was designed we were still talking about 'flattening the curve' and working from a primarily influenza-based pandemic plan.

Things have moved on since then, and the national strategy is now to Eliminate the virus. It doesn't make sense to call one particular level Eliminate, when the plan is to Eliminate the virus in all levels.

Or would you rather they kept using old and confusing language?

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Things have moved on.....

Tell us more background about the switch from flatten the curve, to elimination.

What was the decision process, who made the decision, and who has responsibility for elimination.

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Ahh.... it's called progress. The reference to a curve was when we were expecting an exponential rise, so the language was about stopping a rising curve from becoming a vertical increase. We did that. Now we are trying to eliminate pockets as they crop up.
I'm truly surprised you have to ask the second part of your post

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Cabinet papers around this have been released, so go read them.

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I personally like my title of lvl 4.. unambiguous and attention grabbing.. lol

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I think it's more of a subtle hint that if NZ doesn't want region wide restrictions then people will have to get their heads around electronic tracing tools. The expectation is still to eliminate any incursions as they happen, which is the only viable thing to do. Trying to get 100% uptake of tracing tools (bluetooth or other) will be an interesting exercise methinks, possibly an unachievable one

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The level of precision and execution that is required to ensure border MIQ cases do not lead occasionally to community cases is beyond our capabilities. Or our willingness to be capable.

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I'd bet another week at Lvl 3.
But what is really needed is a big investment in better medium term quarantining facilities. 5000 trailer park beds well away from rest of population that we can use to increase the number of people entering NZ at reasonable cost (~$1000) so that we can start to build back a little bit of our education and long term tourist industry.

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Good idea! Let's make it somewhere down in Waiouru, the army wouldn't have to go far. "sigh.. shaking head in disbelief"

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I agree in principle, but it depends how long until vaccines are available. Since it's looking like the start of next year they should be rolling out around the world, and hopefully in NZ too, ramping up facilities to that degree may not be necessary. But if it was going to be another 12 months+ of the status quo then yeah that'd be sensible.

Also 5,000 beds would probably need a workforce of 2,000-3,000 people just to look after them 24/7, which is a lot of people to press in service at short notice, and then we get problems with people not following the rules properly etc.

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Let's hire pacific islands for quarrantine!!
Lots of visitor beds available, probably cheaper, and would make it a perk rather than a pain of coming to NZ. Isolate each days arrivals in separate resorts with staff who stay on site. We could then restart our tourist and education industries.

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Foyle, it would go better for you if your posts were mildly informative or worthy of reasoned discussion. Otherwise you'll get relegated into Xingmowangs division.

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We already have Somes Island which I understand was a proper quarantine satation. Why not Waihiki Island?

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