Aucklanders should expect more cases of Covid-19 and for Auckland to remain at Level 3 past Friday, following the discovery of four positive cases of community transmission in the city, two leading health experts are warning.
The warning comes from University of Otago's Professor Michael Baker and University of Auckland's Dr Siouxise Wiles who along with other health experts had been warning Kiwis for weeks not to become complacent with our Covid-19 free status.
Speaking to TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning, Prof Baker said he was very disappointed that community transmission of the deadly virus had occurred.
“New Zealand has done exceptionally well.”
The Government announced the four positives cases late last night and also announced Auckland would head into Alert Level 3 from midday today while the rest of the country would enter into Alert Level 2 until Saturday.
With the main new case having been symptomatic for five days, Prof Baker says New Zealand should be seeing more cases in Auckland.
“There isn’t a direct line linking these cases to someone who has come across the border so we have to figure out who those cases are and obviously isolate them.”
There could be more contact with the confirmed cases that haven’t been contacted and traced yet he says and those cases could appear soon.
Prof Baker says New Zealand has come a long way with our contact tracing and management of the virus since the country first tackled outbreaks back in March.
One of the protocols which Prof Baker had been advocating for and has since been advised by the Government is mask wearing under Level 3.
“I think they’re critical in indoor environments if you’re getting close to people,” says Prof Baker.
“Because that’s one thing about this virus, people can be infectious when they're not showing symptoms.”
When will Auckland come out of Level 3 lockdown?
Microbiologist Dr Siouxise Wiles says to lift Level 3 restrictions for Auckland will all depend on whether the source of the virus can be found and how far the outbreak has gone.
“I’m expecting we will [Auckland] probably be in Level 3 for a little longer so people should be prepared for that.”
She warns Aucklanders not to go panic buy and to remain calm.
Dr Wiles is confident the Government has made the right move by going hard and early once again to stamp out the virus, comparing New Zealand's handling for the pandemic to what's happening across the Tasman in Victoria.
“Melbourne took five weeks to get to the kind of restrictions we’ve got after four cases and that’s how they ended up going from just a handful to thousands.
“That’s why we go hard and early to stop these chains of transmission and we do that by stopping people moving around.”