Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Case numbers, vaccines in PM Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield update

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield will provide the latest on Covid-19 case numbers and vaccinations at 1pm.

It comes as testing and vaccinations in Auckland ramp up after level 4 restrictions were extended in the region another week to stamp out any remaining community cases.

On Monday level 2 was also extended for the rest of the country until next Tuesday, with Ardern stating some level of restrictions were needed while there was an active outbreak in Auckland and travel, however limited, remained across the border.

Ardern told The AM Show this morning officials did not intend to continue to use the lockdowns system in the long-term fight against Covid.

She pointed out that New Zealand had fewer days where people had been given stay-at-home orders than most of the countries we compared ourselves to.

The key to stopping using lockdowns was to make sure everyone was vaccinated.

“We used them in the past because we didn’t have that tool.”

Despite saying we need as many people vaccinated as possible, Ardern would not put an exact figure on just how many people need to be vaccinated before lockdowns were no longer needed.

On Monday 33 new community cases were announced, taking the total active in the community to 569. Crucially there remained 17 unlinked or “mystery” cases from the past two weeks.

Speaking on TV1’s Breakfast programme this morning, Ardern said those mystery cases do not have to be linked before Auckland comes out of level 4.

Health officials continue to try to figure out how a “handful” of Covid cases are linked to the current outbreak. All the other cases are now genomically linked, she said.

However, people in a number of key suburbs around Auckland are being urged to go and get a Covid test – even if you do not have symptoms.

The suburbs are: Mt Eden, Massey, Māngere, Favona, Ōtara, Papatoetoe and Manurewa.

Extra testing is required in those areas because of links to mystery cases or clusters that may have unexpected cases, officials said yesterday.

Anyone anywhere in the city who develops flu-like symptoms is urged to get a Covid test immediately. But people in those specific suburbs are encouraged to get a test even without symptoms so authorities can get a better picture of the current Covid situation.

Ardern told Breakfast if more suburbs needed surveillance testing, people would be notified this week.

Clusters will also be tightly managed to ensure contacts of cases were not causing other cases.

The Prime Minister reiterated the need for people to stay home to limit risk. One person should also be the sole person to go out shopping for each household. Ideally, that person will be vaccinated, she said.

She also called for people in the city to go and get vaccinated as early as today, if possible.

“If you’re already booked but it’s not until October, then rebook.” Try to get it done this week, she said.

“Our plan is not to continue to use lockdowns,” she told the programme.

There are 220,000 vaccination spots in Auckland this week, she said, and the Government wanted to use every one of them.

The country is in lockdown at the moment because not enough people are vaccinated to stop an outbreak, Ardern said. People were 30 times less likely to need to be hospitalised if they are vaccinated.

“Our goal is to continue to be world leading both in our freedoms and looking after people’s health and wellbeing.”

She finished off by saying that New Zealand needed to be better than those countries sitting around the 70 per cent vaccination mark if we want to move away from using restrictions.

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