About 2000 people have turned up to a New Zealand anti-lockdown protest in Auckland’s domain arranged by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.
Those attending included gang members and one vehicle had a banner reading: “Let Freedom Reign”.
Police said they recognised people’s lawful right to protest, but under alert level 3 restrictions, the only gatherings allowed were weddings, funerals and tangihanga with no more than 10 people.
A statement was expected later this afternoon, once the event is over.
Protests were also scheduled to take place in Wellington and Christchurch.
27 new community cases
Meanwhile, 27 new community cases were reported in New Zealand today, with five not yet linked to earlier cases.
There was no media conference today. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said 14 of today’s cases were household contacts, eight were known contacts and five were under investigation to determine how they were linked to the current outbreak.
“Due to the highly infectious nature of the delta variant within households, we expect to see fluctuations in case numbers at this stage in the outbreak.”
All the new cases are in Auckland.
There are 10 unlinked cases from the past fortnight.
There were 19 cases yesterday, with another 19 the day before and 45 on Wednesday.
There have now been 1295 cases in the current community outbreak, with 1068 now considered recovered.
There was also one new case in managed isolation today.
22 people in hospital
There are currently 22 people in hospital with the coronavirus, including three in intensive care.
The ministry said there had also been another exposure event at Middlemore Hospital last night, with a person seeking treatment for issues unrelated to covid-19 subsequently testing positive.
They have been moved to a covid-19 isolation ward at the hospital.
“The patient was wearing a mask at all times in ED. All staff were wearing appropriate PPE and as such no staff members are required to stand down,” the ministry said.
The ministry also said whole genome sequencing had identified a clear epidemiological link between the Naumi MIQ worker who was reported as a positive case earlier this week and another case at the border.
“The worker tested positive on September 29 as part of routine surveillance testing. They are fully vaccinated and have been tested regularly. The hours they worked mean they had limited contact with guests at the hotel. They are now isolating in a quarantine facility.
“An investigation is underway to determine the pathway of the worker’s infection and identify potential contacts.”
The ministry said 22,041 tests were taken yesterday, with more than 13,000 swabs taken in the Auckland region.
“We would like to thank everyone in Tāmaki Makaurau who has come forward to be tested.”
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.