The entire country will be in Alert level 4 until 11.59pm on Tuesday, August 24, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
However, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told a press conference this afternoon the level 4 lockdown may be extended for Coromandel beyond Tuesday.
“My advice was that the lockdown be extended right across the country, through to Tuesday next week, and my view was that Auckland, plus or minus Coromandel, would need to be extended beyond that based on the data we have at the moment,” he said.
Cabinet will meet on Monday, August 23, to determine the next steps.
It comes after 11 new cases of Covid-19 in the community were reported on Friday, none within the Coromandel region.
“We just don’t quite know the full scale of this Delta outbreak,” Ardern said. “We need to continue to be cautious.”
Ardern said no “random” cases had popped up outside areas they expected them to; however, it was still “too soon to draw any firm conclusions”.
She said the spread of the virus among the contacts identified – of which there were 1189 – was still not known, and that “hundreds” of people were at locations of interest in Auckland that lived outside the city, including in the South Island.
“We are dealing with an outbreak that isn’t just isolated to Auckland,” she said. “[Covid-19] may pop up in other parts of the country in the coming days.”
Ardern said keeping the country in lockdown until Tuesday provided them with a “full seven days”, giving the country “extra time I believe we need”, she said.
‘We need to use this time wisely… Following rules to the letter means we can reconnect faster,” she said. “We have been here before, we know the elimination strategy works, cases rise, then they fall… we just need to stick it out.”
WEEKEND COVID TESTING
Coromandel: Open 9am – 4pm, Saturday and Sunday, drive in, carpark off Woollams Ave, Coromandel township.
Thames: Open 9am – 4pm, Saturday and Sunday, clinic 210 Richmond St Thames – call first 0508 835 676.
Whitianga: no testing at Whitianga clinic on weekend – please visit the Coromandel station for testing.
Please remember to bring ID, wear facemask/covering, maintain social distancing and most importantly maintain contact tracing.
Latest COVID info and updates: covid19.govt.nz
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
There are 11 new cases of Covid-19 in the community reported this afternoon, but none within the Coromandel region.
In a statement released after 1pm, the Ministry of Health said Waikato DHB’s laboratory processed 2590 tests yesterday, and all returned a negative result. This includes testing for the Coromandel Peninsula.
Of the 11 new cases to report today, eight are in Auckland and three are in Wellington, bringing the total number of cases associated with the Auckland Delta outbreak to 31.
Wastewater testing throughout the Coromandel has also not returned any positive Covid-19 results, with the virus only detected in wastewater samples collected on Wednesday from the Waitakere area in Auckland.
However, testing is in progress for a number of samples, most of which will be reported later today.
As of 9am this morning, 1189 individual contacts had been identified, most within the Auckland and Waikato regions, with a proportion located in other areas throughout the rest of North Island and South Island.
As of 9am, 642 contacts were in the Auckland and Waikato regions, 149 contacts were located throughout the rest of New Zealand, and the location of the remaining contacts was still being confirmed.
The total number of contacts across the country is expected to increase as more locations of interest are identified.
Pop-up testing sites remain open in Coromandel Township, Thames, and Hamilton.