Auckland to move to alert level 2, Prime Minister confirms :

Auckland will move to alert level 2 and the rest of New Zealand will move to level 1 at 6am on Sunday morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

Ardern announced the move while speaking to media after a Cabinet meeting to decide on alert level changes.

This will be reconsidered with a plan to move Auckland down a level at the start of the next weekend if possible, she said.

“If you are sick, stay at home, don’t go to work or school and don’t socialise. Keep track of where you’ve been at all times.”

The restriction of 100 people at events will be in place.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said he was issuing a new Section 70 order.

It would mean that any person who attended City Fitness Hunters Plaza on 20 February between 11.15am and 1.45pm, or 26 February between 3.25pm and 4.30pm, as well as anyone who is a close, close-plus or casual contacts is required to:

Isolate at your usual home
Report for testing at a specified time
Accept testing and isolate until you are told officially that you no longer need to
Ardern said it was good news that there had been no new cases for five days in a row.

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Ardern said the strategy of elimination was best for New Zealand but it did not make it easy.

“Covid has taken a toll on so many in so many ways, but it will get better.”

She said an elimination strategy was hard work and it was normal to feel fatigued, but New Zealand was not in the devastating position that much of the world found itself in.

She said she continued to stand by what she had said about current cases in that she did not believe anyone deliberately went out to do things they should not.

No new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the community or in managed isolation today.

The Ministry of Health said there was still a strong demand for testing with more than 11,500 tests processed yesterday. Results from wastewater testing at three Auckland sites – including Papatoetoe – on Wednesday have all come back negative.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today that about 6000 people connected to the latest cluster have been contacted, with many of them followed up on a daily basis.

He said all outstanding Papatoetoe contacts have returned a negative test.

The person who lives in a sleepout at a property owned by one of the four families involved in the cluster had now opted to go into a managed isolation facility, he said.

“It is possible we may still get positive results from people who remain in isolation and are still to get a day 12 tests. It’s important to note that these people are in isolation,” he said.

The people who refused a test would be required to take a test if they develop symptoms, in the meantime they are staying in MIQ, Bloomfield said.

Regarding the resurgence payment, 32625 applications have been received, with a total of at a total of $88.4 million asked for, Ardern said.

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