Covid 19 coronavirus: Case identified in Auckland community; no link to border or MIQ

• There is no known link between today’s case and the border or an MIQ facility.
• Cabinet will meet at 4.30pm and the Prime Minister is expected to give a public announcement at 5.30pm or 6pm.
• Aucklanders have reported a rush on supermarkets since the news broke at 3pm.
• This file will be continuously updated, please refresh for the latest news.

A positive case of Covid-19 has been identified in the Auckland community early this afternoon and is now under investigation.

The link between the case and the border or managed isolation is yet to be established.

The Ministry of Health is advising anyone in Auckland taking public transport this afternoon or who cannot socially distance in public spaces to wear a mask.

Cabinet is meeting by phone now and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is returning to Wellington now.

The All of Government response group will meet at 3pm and Cabinet will get an officials briefing, including advice on what measures are needed, at 4.30pm.

Cabinet ministers will then meet again and the Prime Minister will make a public statement after that, expected to be around 5.30pm or 6pm.

The timings are tentative and depend on developments.

The Government will not confirm any further details on the case including what part of Auckland it is in, or whether the person had moved around.

The New Zealand dollar dropped by just over half a U.S. cent to US69.65c after the news of Covid-19 case was announced.

The Prime Minister was first advised of the case at about 1pm and there was still limited information available.

It is understood she briefed Auckland mayor Phil Goff on the situation via phone about 3pm.

Contact tracing interviews are being conducted by the Auckland Regional Public Health unit.

“The Auckland Regional Public Health unit is undertaking interviews with the case for contact tracing purposes. While we collect more specific information all New Zealanders are reminded of the basic public health measures of mask wearing and hand washing. In particular anyone in Auckland catching public transport this afternoon or who cannot socially distance in public spaces should wear a mask as a precaution,” the ministry said in a statement.

“A hard and early response is the best tool to stamp out any potential spread and everyone in New Zealand is asked to stay calm, be kind and play their part while we gather more information on the potential case.”

The Ministry of Health reminded people to get tested if they develop any symptoms and to stay home from work if feeling unwell.

Auckland Council Deputy Chief Executive, Patricia Reade said the council is awaiting further updates from the Government.

“We have been here before and are prepared to respond quickly should we need to. We will provide further updates should anything change.

“In the meantime, we want to remind people of the basics; wash your hands regularly, wear a mask on public transport and in situations where you can’t physically distance, and ensure you are checking in using the NZ Covid Tracer app.”

University of Auckland associate professor Dr Siouxsie Wiles reiterated the message of staying calm while the case was investigated and to adhere to public health measures.

“The onus is on us to be making sure we are doing all of the things that can be either stopping us being part of a transmission chain or making sure that if we have been exposed, we can be protected really easily.”

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Wiles said essential practices included scanning Covid QR codes, wearing a mask in public and getting tested if people had symptoms.

Wiles said a lockdown was possible if the case was infected with the Delta variant, but she was reassured Kiwis would be able to adjust.

Consumers are reporting supermarkets in Auckland are busy, with one on the inner North Shore already having to open all checkouts.

New World Birkenhead Grocery Manager Thilak said he noticed an increase in customers in the past half hour.

He said all the checkouts are open and there are long queues.

Thilak said there’s no need to panic as there’s lots of stock for everyone.

Auckland Transport is reminding all commuters that face masks must be worn on public transport.

Everyone 12 years and older legally must wear a face covering on public transport at all Alert Levels.

Face masks are on sale in vending machines at public transport facilities across Auckland. The masks are in 42 machines at bus and rail stations and ferry wharves.

It comes as more than 2.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered.

The Ministry of Education is referring media to the Ministry of Health as the “lead agency” on Covid matters.

There are no new cases in managed isolation.

The news comes after revelations this morning that Covid was spread between returnees at Auckland’s Jet Park quarantine facility when room doors were opened simultaneously for seconds during food deliveries and a health check.

An investigation has revealed the highly contagious Delta variant was spread in seconds across a corridor and changes were now underway at the 31 MIQ facilities across the country to prevent synchronous door opening.

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