No earlier move to level 2 for South Island: PM

The Prime Minister has ruled out bringing forward a drop to Covid Alert Level 2 for the South Island despite no known community cases of the Delta variant.

Speaking at today's media briefing, at which she announced a move to level 3 for Northland from tonight, Jacinda Ardern said it was not part of the plan to bring the South Island to level 2 earlier than the rest of the country.

The country south of Auckland and Northland dropped to alert level 3 on Tuesday.

The change for Northland from tonight means Auckland alone remains in level 4 until at least September 14.

A review of alert levels for the rest of the country would take place on Monday, Ardern said.

"Our goal is to keep Covid out of the South Island. Stepping down cautiously is the best way that we can ensure that when we do lift restrictions it stays that way, and those businesses can remain free of some of the challenges we're facing elsewhere."

There were 512 known contacts of the current Delta outbreak in the South Island, she said. Of those, 15 were overdue their day 12 tests and seven were not yet due for that.

Every one of those people had had a negative test initially.

However, Ardern said those were only the known contacts. It was possible others were out there and  Level 3 provided that extra layer of caution.

Comments

They would have disgruntled voters in Auckland if Otago/Southland moved to Level One while Auckland was Level Four.It is political,as is the All Blacks being allowed to travel offshore.

Keeping "Covid out of the South Island" is all very well (even if ultimately illusory), but she's obviously never heard of the word "cost"...

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