A timeline of events and announcements of Auckland's second day at Covid-19 Level 3 lockdown, and the rest of New Zealand's second day at Level 2.
Aucklanders have spent a second day at Alert Level 3 lockdown. The rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2.
It was confirmed today that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce the decision to move up or down alert levels tomorrow at 5.30pm.
What we know so far:
- Tuesday saw four new cases of Covid-19 through community transmission confirmed in New Zealand, all in the same household in Auckland
- 13 new cases have been confirmed today, linked to those cases
- Members of the family confirmed to have the virus travelled to Rotorua and contact tracing has begun there
- Contact tracing has begun for contacts of the confirmed cases, with almost 300 close and casual contacts in isolation so far
- Police checkpoints have been set up at Auckland's borders for the duration of the lockdown, 24/7
- Face coverings are recommended but not mandated at this stage
7.49pm: A spokesperson for Megan Woods, the minister in charge of managed isolation facilities, said there has been no link established between managed isolation and the current Auckland Covid-19 cases at this stage.
“No connection between managed isolation and these cases has been established at this point,” the spokesperson told 1 NEWS.
7.31pm: A Waikato police officer is in self-isolation as a precautionary measure after being involved in a traffic stop with a person visiting Rotorua who later tested positive for Covid-19.
The person is one of the initial four Auckland Covid-19 cases announced on Tuesday night.
6.46pm: Mr Peters said he was informed of the potential breach after receiving a tip-off from a journalist, who he called "usually very reliable".
6.25pm: Winston Peters has told ABC Australia that there is an investigation into whether the Auckland outbreak was the result of a quarantine breach.
6.21pm: The Government is expected to announce its decision on the country's alert levels in a press conference at 5.30pm tomorrow.
Cabinet will meet tomorrow afternoon after Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield gives an update on the number of coronavirus cases at 1pm.
6.11pm: The Warehouse Group closed two of its Auckland Noel Leeming stores as a precautionary measure today after a customer later tested positive for Covid-19.
"We have asked our team at Albany Noel Leeming and Wairau Park Noel Leeming stores to stay home today as a precautionary measure, as we have been made aware that a customer who visited these stores at the weekend has since tested positive for COVID-19," The Warehouse Group told 1 NEWS in a statement.
5.48pm: Yesterday was a record day for testing in Auckland with more than 7,800 tests now registered by the city’s laboratories, including 3,546 people swabbed at community testing centres, the Auckland District Health Board said today in a statement.
The previous Auckland record was 6,407 tests, registered on June 23.
Fifteen community testing centres in Auckland swabbed 2,921 people as of 2pm this afternoon.
The Central City community testing centre in Eden Terrace will be moved to Eden Park from 8am Friday.
The new location - in the stadium’s Bus Hub on the corner of Sandringham Road and Reimers Avenue - is expected to provide better flow and a safer environment for pedestrians seeking testing than the current site.
4.51pm: A woman, who did not wish to be named, told 1 NEWS she waited for three hours for a Covid-19 test at a Christchurch testing station when she was turned away by police.
They told her it would take until midnight to process the people already at the testing station, located on Pages Road.
4.31pm: Doctors were left frustrated as levels of testing for the virus declined in the lead-up to the latest Covid-19 lockdown, according to a survey of GP practices carried out by University of Auckland researchers.
The complaints included mixed messages on testing from health agencies and doctors’ embarrassment when testing advocated by the Government was limited by a lack of funding or equipment.
Approximately 182 GPs, practice nurses and practice managers were surveyed between July 24 and August 6 for the survey.
Of those surveyed, 20 per cent of practices had concerns about getting funding for testing, and only 7 per cent of practices tested 40 or more patients – down from 28 per cent in the previous survey, carried out in late June.
4.22pm: More police will be deployed to the frontline to help manage New Zealand's Covid-19 response following the graduation today of 56 new officers.
Twenty-two new constables have been posted to the greater Auckland area, Police Minister Stuart Nash said today in a statement.
Police carried out 852 Covid-related patrols and checks as of 7am this morning, including reassurance patrols at essential businesses, responses to complaints about potential breaches and checks on other businesses Mr Nash said.
3.45pm: Finance Now CEO Phil Ellison says the business acted immediately upon discovering its link to the Auckland family. A second employee and their relative later tested positive for the virus. "We informed our staff of the situation as soon as we were aware of it, advising them our Auckland premise would be closed forthwith and they should work remotely until further notice," Mr Ellison said today in a statement.
“Having prioritised our staff’s welfare through that immediate instruction to work from home, we have communicated regularly with them to provide updates on the guidance relating to testing and isolation procedures, as per advice from public health officials.”
A dedicated Covid-19 testing station was set up at the business' Mt Eden office today for rapid testing of all of its staff and their immediate bubbles.
3.19pm: Hotels throughout the country are being inundated with mass booking cancellations from thousands of domestic and corporate travellers amid the impact of Covid-19's resurgence in the community.
“Booking cancellations for domestic leisure and conferences, even just through to the end of August, is costing the hotel sector many millions of dollars,” New Zealand Hotel Owners Association (NZHOA) executive director Amy Robens said today in a statement.
2.57pm: Mr Powell said he was "pretty happy" with how the Ministry of Health handled the situation after staff were notified on Wednesday at 4pm of the cafe's link to the Auckland family.
"Could have possibly been earlier - maybe we should have found out on Monday or Tuesday just to speed the process up - but maybe they didn't know themselves," Mr Powell said.
2.51pm: Fat Dog Cafe boss Chris Powell said between 12 and 14 staff members were working at the eatery when the Auckland family visited. They were tested this morning and are now awaiting results.
Mr Powell said upon reviewing security footage that only three staff members had entered the customer area at the time of the visit.
2.46pm: The Opportunities Party (TOP) said today in a statement that the election should continue to be held on September 19 despite Auckland going under Alert Level 3.
2.24pm: This morning 17,000 vehicles had been stopped at Auckland’s police checkpoints, 312 of which were turned back.
2.22pm: Approximately 313 people were tested in Napier, Hastings, Wairoa and Central Hawke’s Bay yesterday. All those tested so far have come back negative.
1.57pm: Dr Bloomfield says he was briefed on the family's trip to Taupō this morning and he's not concerned about any delays with details being made public.
Even before the public announcements, the public health unit and national contact tracing centre identify close and casual contacts and get in touch with those people, he says.
They're then able to get them into isolation, before the follow-up interview is carried out and people are tested if required.
Dr Bloomfield says it highlights the value of the Covid-19 Tracer app, to help with contact tracing.
1.53pm: All managed isolation and quarantine staff are made to undergo health checks every day, including declaring symptoms and getting their temperature checked before starting their day, Dr Bloomfield says.
1.51pm: Just over 6000 Covid-19 tests were processed yesterday, the most processed in a single day since late June.
Dr Bloomfield says they have capacity to process around 12,000 tests a day.
1.47pm: Face masks and hand sanitiser has been added to Price Watch, which monitors the prices to ensure there's no gouging.
Two million masks were released to Countdown for sale from the Government's central supply.
An email address will be made available for people to report potential price gouging for monitoring.
1.44pm: Ms Ardern says there's nothing to suggest the community transmission case is linked to a "super spreader" event, such as a wedding or other big gathering.
For the most part, the man has been in self-isolation at home after falling ill, she says.
1.39pm: Businesses who are confused whether they're allowed to open are urged to contact MBIE.
Ms Ardern says the rules are the same as last lockdown - businesses that were allowed to open are still allowed to open, those that needed to stay shut should stay shut.
Business operators with concerns can contact MBIE where there's a "dedicated team" of staff who can help, she says.
1.36pm: Ms Ardern says it's most likely the initial transmission was human-to-human, rather than being contracted off a surface.
She says they're being "very, very cautious" as the virus can live longer on surfaces in cooler environments, like the Americold facility.
Dr Bloomfield says it's "almost certain" it's person-to-person but they're working to rule it out together.
1.30pm: All confirmed cases are being shifted to the Government-managed quarantine facility to try and prevent the spread; Dr Bloomfield says there are a couple of reasons why they're doing it now when they didn't before.
The managed isolation facilities and quarantine weren't set up until about halfway through the lockdown, Dr Bloomfield says.
"These facilities are expressly set up to help minimise any risk of further infection in the community," he says.
Being in quarantine will hopefully help infection passing between family members, as they'll be able to keep positive and non-positive members of families separate, Dr Bloomfield says.
Some of the patients had "reservations" about moving to quarantine but there's been no active push-back, Dr Bloomfield says.
1.27pm: Ms Ardern and Dr Bloomfield will host another live press briefing at 1pm tomorrow, where they'll reveal the latest case numbers.
A decision on whether the Alert Levels will be shifted won't be made until after Cabinet meets to discuss it.
A second press conference will be held after that.
All of these briefings will be streamed live online at 1NEWS.co.nz.
1.24pm: Dr Bloomfield says they don't think they need to widen the restrictions at this point, despite cases having contact before their positive tests in Rotorua, Taupō and Waikato.
He says the vast majority of spread comes from workplace and households, rather than casual spread.
"At this point in time it's very clear that the focus of the outbreak is in Auckland."
1.22pm: Just like the first outbreak, Ms Ardern says people should know the outbreak will likely get worse before it gets better.
"At this stage though, at this stage, it's heartening to see them in one cluster," she says, warning people again that the virus is "tricky".
1.17pm: Jacinda Ardern says they're expecting more cases from the cluster, but says the lockdown is helping make sure people are already staying relatively isolated before they're identified as contacts.
"Once you identify a possible new cluster, it grows before it slows," she says.
Addressing the rush on community testing facilities, Ms Ardern says people can also get tested for free at their GP if they call ahead and book in.
She's still encouraging people to stay home if they're not symptomatic so tests can be prioritised for people symptomatic or at risk.
1.15pm: The genome sequencing is still underway but hasn't been linked to any confirmed cases in managed isolation so far.
It most closely resembles the the virus in the UK and Australia, Dr Bloomfield says.
1.07pm: Breaking down the 13 new community cases today: three worked at Americold, seven are family members of employees, one is an employee of Finance Now, one is related to that person, and one is a student at Mt Albert Grammar School. There is also a probable case, awaiting a test result.
One of the people who tested positive had visited an aged residential facility in Waikato, Dr Bloomfield says. They were not symptomatic at the time.
Dr Bloomfield says they're not going to name the facility at this stage, but will be contacting those who need to be alerted.
1.06pm: One of the cases is an employee at the finance company linked to the original cases, and was admitted to hospital last night. They've since been discharged.
All new confirmed cases are being moved to quarantine, Dr Bloomfield says.
1.03pm: Dr Bloomfield announces 13 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the community, all linked to the previously confirmed cases.
There is also one new case in managed isolation.