• Auckland and Coromandel will go into level 4 lockdown for seven days – and the rest of the country for three days – from 11.59pm tonight.
• A 58-year-old Devonport man tested positive today after visiting a GP yesterday. He was infectious from August 12.
• The man, who isn’t vaccinated, and his wife travelled to Coromandel over the weekend. His wife is fully vaccinated.
• There is no obvious link to the border at this stage.
• While results of genome testing won’t be back until tomorrow, it is being treated as a Delta case.
• There are 23 locations of interest, 10 in Auckland and 13 in Coromandel.
• Auckland testing centres are open until 8pm tonight.
Auckland and Coromandel will go into level 4 lockdown for seven days – and the rest of the country for three days – following news of a community Covid-19 case in NZ’s biggest city.
The lockdown will take effect from 11.59pm tonight, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference this evening.
The Covid-positive Auckland case is a 58-year-old man from Devonport and there is no obvious link between him and the border at this stage, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. The man is considered to have become infectious on August 12.
He and his wife travelled to Coromandel township on Friday and stayed for the weekend.
There are a total of 23 locations of interest – 13 in the Coromandel and 10 in Auckland.
• Star and Garter Hotel (5 Kapanga Rd) – August 13 between 6.39pm – 7.40pm
• Umu Cafe (22 Wharf Rd) – August 13 between 7.40pm – 8.30pm
• BP Gas Station (Tiki Rd) – August 14 between 9.30am – 9.40am
&bull: Driving Creek Railway Tours (380 Driving Creek Rd) – August 14 between 10.30am – 10.50am
• Jaks Cafe & Bar (104 Kapanga Rd) – August 14 between 10.50am – 11.30am
• Hereford ‘n’ a Pickle (2318 Colville Rd, RD 4, Colville) – August 14 between 1.25pm- 2.15pm
• Taras Beads (1/75 Kapanga Rd) – August 14 between 3pm – 3.10pm
• Richardsons Real Estate (151 Kapanga Rd) – August 14 between 3.30pm – 3.35pm
• Umu Cafe (22 Wharf Rd) – August 14 between 6.17pm – 7.11pm
• Star and Garter Hotel (5 Kapanga Rd) – August 14 between 7.11pm – 9.00pm
No Auckland sites have been released yet.
The manager of the Star and Garter Hotel in Coromandel township, Mariya Kravchenko, said the bistro pub was quite busy on Friday and Saturday, guessing there would have been about 70 to 80 people on each night, especially on Saturday night for the All Blacks versus Wallabies match at Eden Park.
She said the hotel closed just before 6pm tonight, and staff had been told the follow the guidelines and get a Covid test.
Bloomfield said there would also likely be some locations of interest between Auckland and Coromandel.
Anyone who has been at the locations of interest at the time specified should self-isolate immediately and call Healthline.
Bloomfield said there are testing centres open across Auckland City until 8pm tonight.
Additional testing centres will be open across Auckland tomorrow, and all DHBs will be ensuring there is accessible testing across the country.
The infected man is not vaccinated, but his wife is fully vaccinated. Arrangements were being made to move the couple to the Jet Park MIQ facility.
Bloomfield said he was told of the case just after midday. The person went to the GP yesterday with symptoms to be tested.
Ardern said the positive case could not be confirmed as Delta until genome sequencing was confirmed tomorrow, but every recent MIQ case has been Delta.
She said that has shaped this evening’s decisions.
“We’ve seen the dire consequences of taking too long to act in other countries, not least our neighbours … the bubble is back.”
Ardern said the Delta variant is potentially twice as infectious and more liable to cause severe illness.
“We are one of the last countries in the world to have the Delta variant in our community. This has given us the chance to learn from others.”
She said Delta was a “game-changer” and there needed to be a rapid response to stop the spread. “We only get one chance.
“One of the worst things about Covid-19 is the absolute uncertainty it creates, but we know this strategy works, and we know life will get easier. We just need to keep going.”
Ardern said physical distancing was even more important given how easily Delta can be transmitted – including through the air. “Please wear a mask when leaving the house.”
She clarified that during lockdown people can leave home for physical exercise in their neighbourhood, visiting the supermarket, dairy or pharmacy, necessary medical care, or getting a Covid test. Schools and other educational facilities will be closed.
There would be a 48-hour window for people to relocate. Those who live alone can join their bubbles with one other person who is also in a one-person bubble, Ardern said.
It was also preferable that only one person per household did the food shopping.
The Covid wage subsidy would be available to businesses across the country, not just Auckland and Coromandel, Ardern said.
Vaccinations would be suspended for 48 hours. Currently 40 per cent of NZ’s eligible population has had at least one dose of the vaccine.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG
The All-of-Government Response Group started meeting at 3pm and Cabinet received an officials’ briefing, including advice on what measures were needed, at 4.30pm.
The last reported community case of Covid-19 in New Zealand was in June when an Australian traveller visited Wellington.
Prior to that it was February 28, 170 days ago.
Last week, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told the country to expect an alert level 4 lockdown if any Delta cases pop up in the community.
All cases at the border in the past three weeks have been Delta.
The potential response Hipkins alluded to was different to past community cases with the original variant, which saw lower alert levels initially introduced for as long as 72 hours while further information was acquired.
Hipkins said the increased transmissibility of Delta and evidence of how quickly it could spread in New South Wales meant a “swift and severe” lockdown could be needed here if there were any new cases.
Other factors that could contribute to a stricter lockdown include the country’s poor QR scanning habits, insufficient contact-tracing systems based on a Delta outbreak, and the Auckland population being still mostly unvaccinated.
High winter demand in hospitals also means they could be easily overwhelmed during an outbreak.
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