Cabinet will meet again on Monday 21st September to decide if gatherings in Auckland can be increased and whether or not the rest of the country can move to alert level 1.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Cabinet has decided to extend the current alert levels.
“On the advice of the director-general, Cabinet has decided on a short extension to the current restrictions of alert level 2.5 for Auckland and level 2 for the rest of the country.”
For Auckland, Cabinet will review the current level at a meeting on Monday 21 September with a view to increase gathering limits, depending on whether the cluster is contained.
If that change is agreed on, it will come into force on 23 September, Ardern says.
She says on Monday 21 September, Cabinet has agreed in principle that the rest of New Zealand will move to alert level 1 – contingent on cases tracking the way they are. The move will be confirmed on Monday.
The level 2 precautions continue to act as a safety barrier against flare-ups for the rest of New Zealand, she says.
She says it has been two weeks – one transmission cycle of the virus – since Auckland moved to level 2.5.
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“In that time, we have identified a further 36 cases in the community – all are associated with the wider Auckland cluster and most were people who had a known link to the cluster and so were already isolated.”
Ardern announced physical distancing requirements on planes and public transport will be eased from today.
“From today, public transport operators, including airlines, buses and trains, do not need to maintain any seating restrictions or passenger capacity limits at level 2. Mask use will continue to be compulsory [on public transport at level 2 and higher].”
On travelling and airport safety, Ardern says “what we want to see maintained by our airlines is enforcement of mask use because that has been a key part of the director-general’s decision and advice … what we want to see is that when we’re loading passengers, making sure we’re maintaining physical distancing for loading and disembarkation because that’s where you start to see congestion.”
Ardern says Treasury’s latest update shows economic activity across the Auckland region and the country bounced back to levels experienced under level 1.
“This is a global pandemic and the global economic outlook is weak.
“The best approach to a healthy economy is getting the virus under control.
“Continuing our elimination strategy based on stronger more targeted public health measures allows economic activity in New Zealand to resume sooner than would otherwise be the case.”
She says the plan is working but just needs “a little more time”.
“My view is that we need to keep all of New Zealand safe. Modelling suggest there still is a risk that cases could still travel out of Auckland.”
There was one new case of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, and updates were provided about the infected health worker who works at the Jet Park quarantine facility in Auckland.
Yesterday it also emerged that a person visited Les Mills gym in Takapuna while infectious, and that there 89 people considered to be close contacts.
Ardern confirmed the person who went to Les Mills worked at a managed isolation facility.
“That individual works in a managed isolation facility … and in the facility that we have been keeping people who from the Auckland cluster have Covid-19. So as a health worker that’s being exposed to those who have been in quarantine rather than having picked it up in the community. That’s the link.”
She says that case and its close contacts are being well managed.
She says people working in quarantine facilities have been asked to keep a strict log of their whereabouts and who they come in contact with, and also tracking their symptoms.
On sport, Ardern says “for games between New Zealand and Australia, that is a different risk profile for teams from Australia, than for instance for teams from South Africa and Argentina, where for instance we have already had team members test positive for Covid”.
“I do believe we can find a workable solution so we can make the Bledisloe Cup happen.”
She says New Zealanders are capable to engage in the elections and attend the Bledisloe Cup, if it were to be held on 17 October.
“We are able as a nation to accommodate both a ruby game and an election.”
Auckland has been at a tailor-made alert level 2.5 since 31 August, as a step down from level 3 restrictions. It limits the amount of people allowed at gatherings to no more than 10, while outside of Auckland gatherings of up to 100 are allowed.
The rest of the country has been at alert level 2.
- If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre
Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.