Sunday 28 February 2021

Auckland heads back into lockdown over two cases

Covid-19: Auckland back in alert level 3, the rest of New Zealand alert level 2

Auckland is back at alert level 3 this morning, while the rest of the country has moved to alert level 2 following two new Covid-19 community cases that could not be directly linked to earlier cases.

The usually bustling Queen Street in Auckland during alert level 3 in December last year. Photo: RNZ / Amy Williams

Radio NZ,

27 February, 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at a briefing at 9pm last night saying that the alert level changes would come in from 6am today and would be in place for seven days.

She said Cabinet would assess the alert levels but it was likely that Auckland would remain in alert level 3 for the full seven days.

Ardern said the announcement comes after two new Covid-19 community cases that could not be directly linked to earlier cases.

One is the 21-year-old sibling of a student from Papatoetoe High School, despite the secondary school student showing no symptoms and testing negative three times.

The siblings' mother has also tested positive.

The 21-year-old was potentially infectious before testing positive and has not been self-isolating.

Genome sequencing is underway and Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, who also spoke at last night's briefing, said it was likely the transmission route was via Papatoetoe High School.

The 21-year-old has done airport work but is not believed to have any interactions with the airside or contact with potentially infected people, Bloomfield said.

Watch the PM's latest briefing here (from another source):

The conditions of alert level 3 remain the same as last time.

Aucklanders are asked to stay at home in their bubbles other than for essential travel. If they do venture out, such as to essential retail stores, Aucklanders must maintain a 2m distance.

Children are asked to stay home from school in Auckland, although for essential worker parents who need to be at work, they will be open.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, and primary produce stories can remain open. Ardern urged people not to rush to supermarkets.

Businesses that normally operate on face-to-face basis are now asked to move to non-contact methods like click and collect or online ordering, she said.

Public venues will be closed, including playgrounds, libraries, cinemas, gyms, pools and markets.

Gatherings outside people's bubbles is prohibited with the exception of groups of 10 for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Public health measures will still need to be maintained in these events.

All sports games will need to be cancelled, including today's planned Auckland Round the Bays.

Travel into, out of or through the Auckland region is restricted while the region is at level 3. People who lived in Auckland but are currently away could return, and anyone who was in Auckland but did not live there could leave, Ardern said.

Those who are vulnerable with pre-existing conditions and older people are encouraged to stay at home where possible and take extra precautions where possible.

Aucklanders are asked to wear masks when they leave their house.

Level 2 for the rest of the country means business and schools remain open, but with social distancing.

People are asked to maintain a distance of 2m from others in public spaces and retail stores and in other places to stay 1m apart in places like workplaces, cafes, restaurants and gyms.

Masks are mandatory on public transport and encouraged where physical distancing is not possible.

Gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are limited to 100 people.

Travel in and out of Auckland is restricted, though people can return home if they can prove their address at the checkpoints.

Eight checkpoints on the outskirts of Auckland will stop vehicles and question drivers, ensuring there is no non-essential movement through the region.

Last night Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said people who lived in Auckland but are currently away could return, and anyone who was in Auckland but did not live there could leave.

People transiting through the region would be allowed to do so, and those who live just outside Auckland but need to enter for legitimate reasons will also get through the border checkpoints.

Police say they will be highly visible across the region to ensure people are aware of the alert level 3 restrictions.

Earlier this month when Auckland was in alert level 3, Ardern said that police checkpoints would be stationed at the legal boundary of Auckland.

That came after some confusion over the location of some of the police checkpoints.

Ardern announced the lockdown to control spread of Covid-19, after two new community cases were found in Auckland.

One of the patients could have been infectious since last Sunday.

Under alert level 3 Aucklanders can travel within their local area for essential work, groceries, and to exercise, but schools and public spaces are closed.

Schools are open for children whose caregivers or parents

The rest of the country is now at alert level 2.

What Jacinda thinks you ought to know:

What you need to know:
  • As of 6am Auckland entered Covid-19 alert level 3 and the rest of New Zealand went into level 2
  • It remains unclear how the latest community cases became infected
  • Road checkpoints at the Auckland's borders have been re-established by police
  • The Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme has been triggered nationwide
  • There are several new locations of interest, which you can find here
  • Find out more about what alert levels 3 and 2 mean for you here.

Radio New Zealand has live wall-to-wall coverage HERE

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