Covid-19 coronavirus: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expected to announce snap lockdown after Auckland community case

• New Zealand is going into lockdown for 3 days from 11.59pm. Auckland and Coromandel will be in lockdown for 7 days.
• A 58-year-old Devonport man tested positive today after visiting a GP yesterday. He was infectious from August 12.
• The man, who isn’t vaccinated, and his wife travelled to Coromandel over the weekend. His wife is fully vaccinated.
• There is no obvious link to the border at this stage.
• While results of genome testing won’t be back until tomorrow it is being treated as a Delta case.
• There are 23 locations of interest, 10 in Auckland and 13 in Coromandel.
• Testing centres open until 8pm tonight.

Auckland will go into level 4 lockdown for seven days – and the rest of the country for three days – following news of a community Covid-19 case in Auckland.

The lockdown will take effect from 11.59pm tonight, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference this evening.

The Covid-positive Auckland case is a 58-year-old male from Devonport and there is no obvious link between him and the border at this stage, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. He is considered to have become infectious on August 12.

He and his wife travelled to Coromandel township on Friday and stayed for the weekend. The locations of interest are:

* Star and Garter Hotel Coromandel, Coromandel town, Friday, August 13, 6:39pm-7:40pm
* Umu Cafe Coromandel 22 Wharf Road, Coromandel town, Friday August 13, 7:40 pm-8:30pm
* Star and Garter Hotel Coromandel, Coromandel town, Saturday August 14, 7:11 pm-9:00pm
* BP Gas Station Coromandel, BP Gas Station, Tiki Road, Coromandel town,Saturday August 14, 9:30am-9:40am
* Taras Beads Coromandel 1/75 Kapanga Road, Coromandel town, Sunday August 15, 10am-10:05am

The infected man is not vaccinated, but his wife is fully vaccinated.

Bloomfield said he was told of the case just after midday. The person went to the GP yesterday with symptoms to be tested.

Anyone who has been at the locations of interest at the time specified is to self-isolate immediately and call Healthline.

Bloomfield said people outside Auckland and the Coromandel will have been at those locations of interest.

There will also likely be some locations of interest between Auckland and the Coromandel.

Bloomfield said there are testing centres open across Auckland City until 8pm tonight.

Additional testing centres will be open across Auckland tomorrow, and all DHBs will be ensuring there is accessible testing centres across the country.

Ardern said the positive case could not be confirmed as Delta until genome sequencing was confirmed tomorrow, but every recent MIQ case has been Delta.

She said that has shaped this evening’s decisions.

“We’ve seen the dire consequences of taking too long to act in other countries, not least our neighbours … the bubble is back.”

Ardern said the Delta variant is potentially twice as infectious and more liable to cause severe illness.

“We are one of the last countries in the world to have the Delta variant in our community. This has given us the chance to learn from others.”

She said Delta was a “game-changer” and there needed to be a rapid response to stop the spread. “We only get one chance.”

Ardern said physical distancing was even more important given how easily Delta can be transmitted – including through the air.

Ardern clarified that people can leave home for physical exercise in their neighbourhood, visiting the supermarket, dairy or pharmacy, necessary medical care, or getting a test.

“Please wear a mask when leaving the house.”

The All-of-Government Response Group started meeting at 3pm and Cabinet received an officials’ briefing, including advice on what measures were needed, at 4.30pm.

Ardern returned to Wellington earlier this afternoon.

The Ministry of Health is advising anyone in Auckland taking public transport this evening or who cannot socially distance in public spaces to wear a mask.

The Government would not confirm any further details on the case this afternoon, including what part of Auckland it was in, or whether the person had moved around.

Newstalk ZB’s political editor Barry Soper said he was told by a reliable source the person travels frequently between Auckland and Coromandel – however that information has not yet been confirmed by officials.

The last reported community case of Covid-19 in New Zealand was in June when an Australian traveller visited Wellington.

Prior to that it was February 28, 170 days ago.

The Prime Minister was first advised of the case about 1pm when there was still limited information available.

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Last week, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told the country to expect an alert level 4 lockdown if any Delta cases pop up in the community.

While the variant has not yet been revealed, in the last community case in Wellington the Government acted on the assumption it was Delta. All cases at the border in the past three weeks have been Delta.

The potential response Hipkins alluded to was different to past community cases with the original variant, which saw lower alert levels initially introduced for as long as 72 hours while further information was acquired.

Hipkins said the increased transmissibility of Delta and evidence of how quickly it could spread in New South Wales meant a “swift and severe” lockdown could be needed here if there were any new cases.

Other factors that could contribute to a stricter lockdown include the country’s poor QR scanning habits, insufficient contact-tracing systems based on a Delta outbreak, and the Auckland population being still mostly unvaccinated.

High winter demand in hospitals also means they could be easily overwhelmed during an outbreak.

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