Auckland to go into lockdown after community transmission cases found

updated By Jessica Tyson, Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

For the first time in 102 days, there are four new cases of Covid-19 outside a managed isolated facility in Auckland. As a result, Aucklanders will go into Alert Level 3 from midday on Wednesday.

Health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the cases are of four people from the same whānau in South Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says from midday tomorrow August 12, Auckland (Wellsford to Pukekohe) will go to Level 3 for three days until midnight on Friday.

Ardern says schools and early childcare facilities will close on Wednesday and only be available to children of essential workers. Food, medical supplies, and other essential services will remain open in Auckland. Only essential services will be able to leave home for work.

Meanwhile, Dr Bloomfield says testing sites across Auckland are preparing for an expected increase in demand.

The rest of the country will go into Level 2.

The new cases 

Ardern says the four confirmed cases of Covid-19 are from one family from an unknown source.

The first case found in the family is a person in their 50s who lives in South Auckland.

The person was swabbed yesterday, and the swab was processed twice. A second swab, taken today confirmed the positive result.

The person has been symptomatic for five days and was interviewed by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service. The person has no overseas travel history.

Contact tracing 

Dr Bloomfield says the Ministry of Health will continue to trace close and casual contacts of this person and test them for Covid-19.

This has included household contacts of the case who received a rapid test this evening. Three of these tests have also come back positive and three are negative.

All close contacts of the four cases will remain in self-isolation for 14 days, regardless of their test result, and all casual contacts will remain in self-isolation until they have the results of their test.

Testing

In addition, the ministry will be working over the next few days to test all people that are working at the borders and those who work at any managed isolation facilities.

“I’ve said it previously, but it’s even more relevant now, if you are offered a test, please take it", Health drector general Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

In Auckland the four community testing centres in Northcote, Grafton, Henderson and Wiri will be operating with more staff and extra hours. The testing centres in Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau are all prepared for receiving more people.

There will also be no barriers to anyone that has cold and flu symptoms getting tested. Testing is free.

The three DHBs in Auckland are planning pop-up clinics over coming days aand they will publicise the locations and hours of these clinics.

The ministry says it will be working closely with DHBs and primary care around the country to ensure additional testing capacity is available to meet an expected increase in demand.


Ministry of Health advice for Kiwis

  • Continue stringent hand hygiene sneeze and cough into your elbow.
  • If you or a family member are unwell stay home and contact Healthline or your GP about getting a test.
  • Practice physical distancing of two meters wherever possible.
  • Consider wearing a mask in public spaces or places where it is hard to physically distance.
  • If you have any concerns please seek advice from Healthline or your GP on getting a test.
  • If you have not already, please download the NZ CovidTracer app.
  • If you have fallen out of the habit of recording your movements as you go about your day, this case is a reminder of why it is so important.
  • You can still use the manual function on the app to record where you have been recently, and scan in using QR codes going forward.

A reminder too, for businesses – please have a QR code displayed so your customers can be traced quickly if required.

"We cannot afford to let this virus spread," Dr Bloomfield says.

"We have seen how quickly it can lead to a wider resurgence in communities overseas. Places that have had Covid-19 under control have seen flare-ups and gone back into a full lockdown.

"We are working to not let that happen here. We’ve done this before and we can do it again," he says..