PM to reveal Covid-19 alert status at 5.30pm

By Jessica Tyson

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will tell New Zealanders at 5.30pm whether Covid-19 alert levels will change across the country. Te Ao Māori will live stream the media conference via Facebook.

The announcement will follow a Cabinet meeting starting at 3.30pm where ministers will debate whether to increase the alert levels.

It comes after a new cluster of community transmitted cases in Auckland was found on Tuesday, which led to a Level 3 lockdown in Auckland while the rest of the country moved to Level 2.

So far there are 13 cases linked to the cluster including a family of four in South Auckland and a student at Mt Albert Grammar School, says health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield. However, at least one positive case has since been identified in Tokoroa. Its connection to the cluster is unknown yet.

Mt Albert Grammar case

Bloomfield says the school has sent a letter to a number of students and staff who, after inquiry, were considered as close contacts advising them to self isolate for 14 days.

"All those people have already been spoken with by our national contact tracing service this morning."

He says the student was not symptomatic at school and has not been at school since they became unwell and got tested.

"So the chance of exposure of anyone in the school community to the infection is considered low at this point."

Family visit to Rotorua

The Auckland family with Covid-19 recently made a trip to Rotorua last weekend.

Between Saturday, August 8 and Sunday 10 the family visited the Wai Ora Lakeside Hotel, Herbs and Spice Thai Restaurant, Pak n Save supermarket at Amohau Street, the Heritage Farm and 3D Art Gallery, the Skyline Gondola and Luge Burger Fuel Redwood Centre in Rotorua. They also visited the Sail Barbary Eco Sailing in Taupō and on their way home stopped for fuel in Hamilton on Tuesday.

The trip has resulted in an increase in Covid-19 testing in Rotorua. Dr Bloomfield says there is a testing site for the public on 2 Vaughan Road, which operates as a drive-through facility. People visiting are asked to following the signage and the traffic cones and observe all staff requests. 

In total there are 36 active cases in New Zealand.