13 new community cases, truck driver tests positive

There are 13 new community cases of Covid to report today, all in Auckland, including a truck driver who left the city during lockdown.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield were providing the latest on the current Covid-19 outbreak and vaccine rates this afternoon. There were also five new cases at the border to report.

Work is in progress to determine if there are any locations of interest after the supermarket driver crossed the Auckland boundary to deliver goods.

Bloomfield confirmed that the driver had tested positive for Covid-19 after isolating and was a household contact of another case.

The driver travelled to Hamilton, Cambridge and Tauranga but Bloomfield said it was unclear whether he was infectious at the time and there may be no locations of interest.

The driver was previously tested on August. 22 They work for food provision services and their contact was limited to deliveries and drop-offs.

Ardern said pick-ups and drop-offs would all be noted, but there was no suggestion the driver had done anything they shouldn't have.

She said for those regularly crossing the border, a test on a weekly cycle was suitable.

From 11.59pm today, all permitted travellers across the Auckland boundary must show proof they have been tested.

Police will check compliance from midnight tonight, and those who cannot show proof will be turned back, Bloomfield said. There is a pop-up testing centre at Mobil station on State Highway 1 near Meremere from Friday.

Meanwhile, 100,000 rapid test kits arrived in the country yesterday.

A pilot will be rolled out at international airports and Middlemore Hospital, to "help work out now how to best use them in the future", Bloomfield said.

What Auckland's level 3 means for rest of NZ

Ardern said Cabinet has considered settings at Alert Level 1 and reached the conclusion that this alert would remain the same, with no changes following the Delta outbreak.

The most important consideration is that Alert Level 1 is for an environment with no risk of community transmission. So long as Auckland is in the higher alert levels, we will need a greater preparedness in the rest of the country, Ardern said.

If on Monday, the Government confirms Auckland moves to alert level the number of people who can gather in hospitality venues will increase from 50 to 100 in other parts of the country, she said.

Ardern said the Delta level 2 restrictions were necessary, but Cabinet feels "more comfortable" lifting some of those if Auckland moves down alert levels.

19 in Auckland hospitals

Nineteen people with Covid-19 are in Auckland hospitals - four are in ICU. Ten cases are at Middlemore Hospital, six at Auckland Hospital and three at North Shore Hospital.

Twelve of today's 13 cases have been linked to the outbreak - the unlinked case was tested and discovered after they visited Middlemore Hospital. Further testing is happening at Middlemore, including in the adult surgical and medical wards.

The Ministry of Health said there have now been 996 cases in the current community outbreak - 979 in Auckland and 17 in Wellington.

There are now 536 active cases in the community, 460 people have recovered from the virus since the community outbreak began in August. More than 17,570 Covid-19 tests have been carried out in the last day across the country.

Vaccine buses

The first of mobile vaccine buses started in Auckland this morning - one to Lincoln Rd and another at Papakura Station. Twelve will be provided in total thanks to Auckland Airport.

Experts warn the only way for New Zealand to avoid lockdowns is to have at least 90% of the eligible population vaccinated.

Ardern said there will be a focus on the buses travelling to suburbs where access to vaccinations are more difficult.

Three million doses have been administered nationwide - "a significant milestone", Ardern said.

She wants to see 80% of all Aucklanders vaccinated with their first dose by the end of the week and urged anyone who hasn't had their first vaccine to "do it today".

The converted black and orange airport Park & Ride buses have vaccination signs posted on their sides. One reads "Roll up your sleeves, Auckland", and another "Vaccinate for Auckland".

Ardern this week asked for names for the service and narrowed it down to Jabba Waka, Shot Bro, Jabbin' Wagon, Vaxi Taxi. In the end "Shot Bro" was the most popular.

Meanwhile, as New Zealanders gear up for the return of a newly improve managed isolation and quaranting booking system next week, special group MIQ allocations have been made public.

They show foreign sports teams, business people and entertainers have been granted spaces in MIQ, even as many New Zealanders have been unable to return home due to the scarcity of rooms, RNZ reported.

 

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