New Zealand, except Auckland, to move to covid alert level ‘delta 2’

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NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ... 20 new covid-19 cases in the community - the same as the past two days in a row. Image: RNZ screenshot APR

RNZ News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced New Zealand, outside of Auckland, will move to alert level 2 from 11.59pm Tuesday, September 7.

Delta alert level 2 looks different and settings have been changed.

Auckland will stay in level 4 until 11.59pm next Tuesday, September 14.

Schools will be given 48 hours to reopen from Thursday morning.

“These changes mean that we will have one part of the country level 4, and one part at Level 2,” Ardern said, which creates challenges, especially for Northland, cut off from the rest of Level 2.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said today there were 20 new cases in the community — the same as the past two days — three new cases in managed isolation and one historical case.

Of the 20 new cases announced, only five were infectious while in the community, the remaining 15 were all in isolation throughout the period they were infected, the statement said.

All the new cases are in Auckland.

There were 40 people with covid-19 being treated in hospital today, eight at North Shore, 18 at Middlemore and 14 at Auckland.

Six of these people are either in intensive care or in a high dependency unit.

Weekly tests for essential workers crossing border
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said essential workers crossing alert level boundaries would be required to undergo weekly testing.

Those people will be expected to have had a test in the last seven days and must show proof of it, he said.

Three thousand people are crossing the border between Auckland and the rest of the country each day.

People who transit across Auckland will need to come through without stopping if they’re moving from south of Auckland to Northland.

During the level 2/4 transition, the message to travellers is “Don’t stop in Auckland,” Ardern said.

Watch the announcement

Video: RNZ News

Face coverings mandatory under ‘Delta 2’ level
Face coverings are now mandatory at level 2 in most public venues, Ardern said.

People could take their mask off in venues like restaurants and cafes, she said.

Staff at public facing businesses in level 2 must wear face coverings.

“To keep it really simple, if you’re out at about at indoor venues, please wear a mask,” Ardern said.

Masks would be “our new normal” at level 2, she said.

Ardern said that masks were not being mandated in schools, and Dr Bloomfield said it was “recommended, but not required”.

People must scan in everywhere they go, Ardern said.

It would now be mandatory at bars, restaurants, cinemas, churches, close contact venues like hairdressers. Customers must scan or have record keeping.

“Even in places you are not legally required to scan in, my advice is to do it anyway.”

The decisions around masks and scanning were made before the current delta outbreak, Ardern says, and implemented once it happened.

Middlemore patient testing positive
Ardern was asked about a patient at Middlemore Hospital who had tested positive for covid-19.

Dr Bloomfield said the link had not been found yet but interviews wdere underway.

“I’m confident there will be a link there.”

He said the Middlemore patient presented with symptoms that were not typical covid-19 symptoms, and were admitted to hospital for the symptoms they had.

The patient then had a covid-19 test the next morning and was isolated when it came back positive.

The patient should “ideally” have been isolated when hospital staff thought they could be infected with covid-19, Dr Bloomfield said.

He said the hospital would review its procedures.

The person had abdominal pains, Ardern added, and said that health teams would look at expanding symptoms they ask about in screening in the future.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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