Wellington enters Alert Level 2 tonight; locations of interest named following Covid-19 case visit

updated By Te Ao - Māori News

⇒ During a media stand-up today, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said Wellington would enter Alert Level 2 from 6pm tonight until 11:59pm on Sunday, June 27. 

This comes after the Ministry of Health had identified locations of interest following news of a person from Sydney with the Delta variant of Covid-19 having travelled to Wellington and back to Australia over the weekend.

Hipkins said the man had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and his partner, who he travelled with, is awaiting her Covid-19 test results. It's not known whether she was vaccinated.

Four close contacts have been identified and are in isolation.

Health director-general Ashley Bloomfield is considering all options should any potential outbreak occur, including a possible lockdown in Wellington.

"Everything is on the table," he told RNZ this morning.

Bloomfield revealed the man became symptomatic on his Monday flight back to Sydney.

"We are assuming they were infectious in Wellington," he said.

Based on the time of symptom onset and CT score, it was likely the traveller contracted the virus in Sydney before arriving in New Zealand.

The last community case of Covid-19 in Wellington (Capital and Coast DHB) was November 11, 2020. In the wider Wellington region, it was 18 November 18, 2020 (Hutt Valley DHB).

Locations of interest

The locations of interest, which include the flight this person arrived in Wellington on, and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, between June 19 and June 21 are:

  •  Qantas Flight QF163 Sydney to Wellington, arrival at Wellington Airport, 12:05am, Saturday
  •  Rydges Hotel, Featherston St, 12am, Saturday to 9:10am Monday
  •  Unichem Wellington Pharmacy, Lambton Quay, 10:38am-11:48am, Saturday
  •  Te Papa Tongarewa, 3:05pm-5:45pm, Saturday
  •  Te Papa Tongarewa - Exhibition Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 4pm-5:45pm, Saturday
  •  Jack Hackett's Bar, 8:45pm-12am Saturday
  •  Floridita's restaurant, 161 Cuba St, Te Aro, 12:45pm to 4pm, Saturday
  •  Highwater Eatery, 54 Cuba St, 5:45pm to 9:30pm, Saturday
  •  Pickle & Pie cafe, 2 Lombard St, 9:45am to 11:37am, Sunday
  • The Weta Cave shop, 1 Weka St, Miramar, 11:10am to 12:30pm, Sunday
  • The Lido Cafe, 81 Victoria Street, Te Aro, 1pm to 2.45pm, Sunday
  • Unity Books, 57 Willis St, 1:50pm to 3:05pm, Sunday
  • Countdown Cable Lane, 280/284 Lambton Quay, 6pm to 7:15pm, Sunday
  • One Red Dog, 56 Customhouse Quay, 7pm to 9pm, Sunday
  • Wellington to Sydney – NZ247 (Air New Zealand): departed Wellington Monday, June 21,  10:13am (NZST), arrived in Sydney Monday, June 21, 11:33am (AEST).

Extra time has been added to the timeframes to make sure that all potential contacts are known. Some times may overlap as a result.

Anyone who was at any of the locations listed during the relevant timeframes is considered a contact. They will need to check all details, including the location and address, date and relevant times, instructions on what to do and to contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if they are still unsure.

Many of these places have now closed for deep cleaning.

Testing in Wellington

A testing centre has opened up at 196-200 Taranaki Street, Wellington, open at 10-4pm for seven days.

The health ministry wants everyone with symptoms to get tested. 

Travel paused

Because of the Delta variant of Covid-19 cases popping up in Sydney, now at 21 cases, quarantine-free travel from NSW to New Zealand was put on pause at midnight today, lasting for the next three days. 

Queensland has also closed its borders to NSW today, following in Victoria's footsteps. The border closure applies to seven Sydney local government areas (LGAs) from 1am tomorrow, including the city of Sydney, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West, Randwick and Waverley.

Queenslanders wishing to return after 1am tomorrow may do so but need to seek exemption.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young says, "We've always allowed Queenslanders to return home, of course.

"But anyone in Sydney who has been in one of those seven LGAs will need to seek an exemption to be able to come in."