New COVID-19 Cases Puts Auckland Back to Alert Level 3 Lockdown

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New Zealand Prime Minister. Getty Images.

12 August 2020, Auckland New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced Auckland will go back into level 3 lockdown while the rest of New Zealand will come under alert level 2 from midday today, Wednesday 12th August 2020 until midnight Friday.

The announcement comes after four cases of community transmission were confirmed within one family.

Ardern confirmed at a press conference last night that more than one workplace was involved, and it wasn’t just one distinct suburb in Auckland that was likely affected.

An Auckland man in his 50s was tested positive on Monday after having symptoms. He had no history of overseas travel, however a second test today also came out positive.

Out of the six other people in his family, three have been tested positive while the other three tested negative.

All close contacts have been isolated for 14 days regardless of their test results and casual contacts are also being isolated and cannot leave until they test negative.

Prime Minister Ardern and NZ’s Health Chief Executive Dr Ashley Bloomfield during the announcement last night.

Ardern said that more questions needed to be answered, including tracing the case to its source.

New Zealand has been commended around the world for the decisiveness of their response to the global pandemic and have had no registered cases for a straight 102 days.

“I know this information will be very difficult to receive, however, these steps must be taken to ensure the safety of all of New Zealand;

“We have beaten this before and we will do it again”.

The Prime Minister said that they have not made any immediate links to a managed isolation facility, and there is no connection to a high risk person, such as those who work at the border.

“Without knowing that, a precautionary approach was needed, she said, “as disruptive as it is”.

“One of the most important lessons we’ve learned from overseas is to go hard and go early to stamp out flare ups.

“We will be asking Aucklanders to take swift action with us.”

For Aucklanders, that means working from home unless you were an essential service worker.

The area covered by level 3 is the Auckland Super City – from Wellsford in the north to Pukekohe in the south.

Level 3 means schools will close unless they had students whose parents were essential workers. Public facilities, bars, restaurants and businesses will also close at midday today.

“We’re asking people in Auckland to stay home to stop the spread,” Ardern said.

“Act as if you have Covid, and as though people around you have Covid.”

Pharmacies and supermarkets will remain open, but Ardern said there was no reason to panic-buy.

“Please do not rush to the supermarket tonight … there is no reason to rush out and back any purchases this evening.”

For the rest of the country, mass gatherings will be limited to 100 people.

Alert level 3 restrictions for Auckland:

  • Stay at home in your bubble, other than essential movements such as going to the supermarket or local recreation.
  • Aucklanders need to work from home unless they are essential workers.
  • Schools and childcare facilities will close from Wednesday, except for the children of essential service workers.
  • Bars, restaurants and businesses are to close by midday Wednesday.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are restricted, this includes restrictions for funerals, tangi and weddings.
  • Travel into Auckland is prohibited unless you normally live there and are travelling home.
  • Anyone with flu-like symptoms is asked to get tested by contacting their GP or calling Healthline.
  • All key services, including pharmacies and supermarkets remain open. Food delivery is available under level 3.
  • Masks should be used where social distancing is difficult, for example on public transport.

Alert level 2 restrictions for the rest of the country:

  • Work and school can be attended with physical distancing.
  • Wear masks if you can in public.
  • No more than 100 people at gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.
  • Businesses can open to the public if they are following public health guidance, which includes physical distancing and record keeping.
  • People at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19, for example, those with underlying medical conditions and old people, are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.
  • Practice good hygiene – stay home if sick.