Hundreds call busy NZ healthline over new lockdown, emergency text resent

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PM Jacinda Ardern 120820
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ... "rapid response to break the chain of transmission." Image: PMC screenshot

By RNZ News

People calling New Zealand’s covid-19 healthline were facing long waits on hold today as the phone line struggles with high demand as the largest city of Auckland was poised for a three-day lockdown.

This follows Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement last night of four positive cases of covid-19 outside of managed isolation or quarantine in Auckland.

As a result, Auckland moves to level 3 restrictions from 12 noon today. The restrictions will last three days until midnight Friday.

The rest of New Zealand will move to level 2 at the same time.

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Meanwhile, the mobile emergency alert had to be re-sent this morning because some Vodafone customers had missed out on the message.

At 10.15pm yesterday, the National Emergency Management Agency sent out a mobile alert advising the country of the Covid-19 level changes.

But due to a planned upgrade some Vodafone customers did not get the message.

Reform family bubbles
In a live media conference this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that under alert level 3, Aucklanders should reform their family bubbles like the previous lockdown and the same restrictions apply as last time apply.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield giving a media briefing on the new covid-19 cases. Video: RNZ News

“We are taking a rapid response to break the chain of transmission through contact tracing, testing and the gathering of information,” she said.

“I know how hugely frustrating this is for everyone of our team of 5 million.”

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said a woman in her 20s in the family travelled to Rotorua on Saturday while she was symptomatic, and the ministry was working to find out where she went in Rotorua.

The government last night announced that four covid-19 cases of unknown origin had been found in a family in South Auckland.

A child who attends Mount Albert Primary School is believed to be involved with the community cases.

People in Rotorua and around the country should seek advice if they had symptoms, Dr Bloomfield said.

Family and tourist locations visited
The woman who was symptomatic was with a child – who later tested positive – and had visited some family and tourist locations during their visit there, he said.

Ardern said the whole country had gone to level 2 because the pair had travelled to Rotorua.

The family were still in isolation at home and the ministry is working with them about possibly going into quarantine, Dr Bloomfield said.

No members of the family required hospital care at this stage.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

  • All RNZ coverage of Covid-19
  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre.
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