Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he was comfortable that yesterday’s Big Gay Out event, which attracted thousands, went ahead despite the Covid-19 cases detected in the community.
Goff said it was “late morning” when Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield called him to tell him about what was then thought to be two cases found in the community from one Papatoetoe family. At the time, Goff was on the way to Big Gay Out.
At that point, Bloomfield said the event didn’t need to be cancelled, Goff said.
“It was the best advice they could give at the time,” he said.
By “early afternoon” about 2 or 3pm, Goff said he was told the Government was considering a shift in alert levels.
The public was told of the three community cases at 1.30pm while the event was already underway. But it wasn’t until Cabinet had met at about 5.30pm the decision to move Auckland to Alert Level 3 was made. Yesterday's Prada Cup final also continued in Auckland, and ended around 6pm.
“I’m not at all critical of health authorities. They made, as they have right from the beginning, the best decisions on the information that they have,” Goff said.
He said he didn’t challenge their advice because they were the experts.
The event's organisers were also contacted by health authorities, and had put in place public health measures. They were not advised to shut down the event.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed this morning the new infections were the highly-transmissible UK variant and wasn't connected to a managed isolation and quarantine facility.