How to stay safe as Auckland moves to Level 3

By Jessica Tyson

Aucklanders are preparing to go into Alert Level 3 at midday today and the rest of the country into Level 2 after four new Covid-19 community transmitted cases were found yesterday.

The Auckland region from Wellsford in the north to Pukekohe in the south will go into Level 3 until midnight Friday, August 14.  

Heath authorities in Auckland are asking residents to be vigilant, Northern Region Health Coordination Centre lead Margie Ap says.

“The best defence against Covid-19 is to follow the same actions we took earlier in the pandemic. Maintain good hand hygiene. If you are sick, stay home. Keep track of your movements to help us with contact tracing. Maintain physical distancing,” Ap says.

Testing

Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms is advised to get a free test at their local doctor, urgent care clinic or at a community testing centre.

Symptoms include a cough, a high temperature (at least 38˚C), shortness of breath, a sore throat, sneezing, a runny nose or temporary loss of smell.

In Auckland the four community testing centres in Northcote, Grafton, Henderson and Wiri will be operating with more staff and extra hours.

Traffic management is in place at all four sites but people should expect longer waits than usual and be patient.

The testing centres in Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau are all prepared for receiving more people.

Restrictions under Alert Level 3

Under Alert Level 3 restrictions, people are encouraged to work from home. People who are in Auckland and do not live in Auckland, are advised to go home. 

The Ministry of Health says businesses are able to open but should not physically interact with customers. Essential services including healthcare, justice services and businesses providing necessities are able to open. Bars and restaurants should close but takeaways are allowed.

Schools in Auckland can safely open but will have limited capacity. 

"Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures should be maintained. Public venues should close. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets," the ministry says.

People at high risk of severe illness such as older people and those with existing medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home.

Restrictions under Alert Level 2

From midday today the rest of the country will move to Alert Level 2. Restrictions mean that businesses can open to the public if they are following public health guidance, which includes physical distancing and record keeping.

"No more than 100 people are permitted at gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga," the ministry says.

If people are unwell they’re advised to stay home and, if they have symptoms of Covid-19, they are advised to get tested.

Hygiene

Health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield advises all All New Zealanders to continue stringent hygiene:

  • Wash your hands
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow
  • Practice physical distancing of two meters wherever possible
  • Consider wearing a mask in public spaces or places where it is hard to physically distance
  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres outside your home, including on public transport
  • Download the NZ COVID Tracer app.

If anyone has concerns they are advised to contact Healthline or their general practitioner.