Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Auckland’s week at level 3 – will more movement see a rise in cases?

Today is day seven at level 3 for Auckland and any increase in case numbers due to more movement in the City of Sails is likely to come through today and in the coming days.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield are providing the latest case numbers at 1pm today.You can watch the press conference live here.

Ardern is also expected to announce changes to the Auckland boundary rules, including more groups of people who will be permitted to travel from level 3 to level 2.

Yesterday there were 12 new cases, all in Auckland, with all but two of them epidemiologically linked.

In the past fortnight, there were seven unlinked cases.

Bloomfield said yesterday that the seven-day rolling average of Covid cases was now 15, compared with 17 last week and 19 the week before.

“We are making progress. Many of our clusters are now considered to be contained, or clusters are dormant,” he said.

Auckland will be at level 3 for another week – until the end of Tuesday next week – with Cabinet meeting on Monday to review alert level settings for the whole country.

Daily case numbers tend to reflect what’s happening in the community seven to 10 days ago, so the numbers today and for the rest of the week might indicate the impact of moving from level 4 to level 3.

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said it was clear the virus was continuing to transmit among specific groups and there needed to be a much more targeted approach to stamping out the virus quickly.

“We are on a knife-edge at the moment.”

Without a targeted approach, Baker said, Auckland could be hovering between level 2 and level 3 for some time.

Yesterday Ardern said 150 fully vaccinated travellers, starting from the end of October, will be involved in a pilot to isolate at home following an overseas trip.

It would be coupled with a testing and monitoring regime, and travellers wouldn’t be able to leave their homes, or have anyone else there unless they too had travelled as part of the same party.

This morning Act Party leader David Seymour called for an end to regional lockdowns, and for vaccinated Kiwis overseas to be able to come home by Christmas.

The party released its Covid 3.0 strategy this morning, which would take the focus away from zero cases and move towards harm minimisation.

This meant doing away with lockdowns as a whole and moving “from isolating whole cities to isolating only those who it makes sense to isolate”.

To enable this there also needed to be a move away from “chronic fear and uncertainty” towards freedom; a shift away from government-knows-best towards openness and involving business; and an overall strategic shift away from public health to wellbeing.

The National Party is releasing its Covid-19 strategy tomorrow, but party leader Judith Collins said this morning that it would also allow fully vaccinated Kiwis to come home by Christmas.

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