Community transmission confirmed - Covid lockdown from noon Wednesday

by Peter Newport - Aug 11, 2020

** Updated - See full lockdown details from the Ministry of Health at the bottom of our story.

The Prime Minister has announced an outbreak of Covid community transmission in Auckland. The PM has said that all Aucklanders will, from 12 noon tomorrow (Wednesday August 12), go into Level 3 lockdown for three days.

The use of face masks is now advised in Auckland while using essential services such as buying food.

The PM asked Aucklanders not to make a rush on supermarkets. The PM has also asked people to avoid travelling into or out of Auckland.

The PM has cancelled her election campaigning for the next three days and will stay in Wellington. Relative visits to rest homes all over New Zealand are being shut down.

"We will move quickly and move early as a precautionary approach." The PM was notified about the outbreak by heath officials at 4.00 pm this afternoon.

The rest of New Zealand is going into Level 2 lockdown from noon tomorrow - for three days. The PM has asked all New Zealanders to recommence social distancing.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield told media that the resurgence of Covid "was expected" and asked all New Zealanders to start taking extra precautions.

The announcements came at an unscheduled media conference from the Beehive at 9.15 pm.

Four cases have been discovered in South Auckland - all in the same household but involving people who attend different workplaces, all outside the South Auckland area.

Dr Bloomfield said the situation could be controlled - "We have done it before and we can do it again."

The four new cases are not linked to any managed isolation or quarantine facilities.

Here are full details regarding the Wednesday August 12 precautions from the Ministry of Health:

The Prime Minister has announced four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in one family from an unknown source.

The index case is a person in their 50s who lives in South Auckland.

They were swabbed yesterday, and the swab was processed twice. A second swab, taken today confirms the positive result.

The person has been symptomatic for five days and was interviewed this evening by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

The person has no overseas travel history.

As is our usual protocol we are continuing to trace close and casual contacts of this person and test them for COVID-19.

This has included household contacts of the case who received a rapid test this evening. Three of these tests have also come back positive and three are negative.

All close contacts of the four cases will remain in self-isolation for 14 days, regardless of their test result, and all casual contacts will remain in self-isolation until they have the results of their test.

In addition, we are working over the next few days to test all people that are working at our borders and everyone that works at a managed isolation facility.

There will also be no barriers to anyone that has cold and flu symptoms getting tested. Testing is free.

“I’ve said it previously, but it’s even more relevant now, if you are offered a test, please take it", Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

In Auckland the four community testing centres in Northcote, Grafton, Henderson and Wiri will be operating with more staff and extra hours. The testing centres in Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau are all prepared for receiving more people. Details will be on our website tonight.

The three DHBs in Auckland are planning pop up clinics over coming days and they will publicise the locations and hours of these clinics.

The Ministry will be working closely with DHBs and primary care around the country to ensure additional testing capacity is available to meet an expected increase in demand.

As we’ve been saying for several weeks, it was inevitable that New Zealand would get another case of community transmission.

We have been working on the basis that it could be at any time – and that time is now.

The health system is well prepared for this eventuality – and the important thing now is that we don’t let the virus spread in our community.

As we did in the early days of this virus emerging, we need to stamp it out.

There are things that every single New Zealander needs to do now:

- Continue stringent hand hygiene

- sneeze and cough into your elbow.

- If you or a family member are unwell stay home and contact Healthline or your GP about getting a test.

- practice physical distancing of two meters wherever possible.

- consider wearing a mask in public spaces or places where it is hard to physically distance.

If you have any concerns please seek advice from Healthline or your GP on getting a test.

If you have not already, please use this opportunity to download the NZ COVID Tracer app.

This will give us your up to date contact details, so if we need to get in touch with you for contact tracing purposes, we can do so quickly.

If you have fallen out of the habit of recording your movements as you go about your day, this case is a reminder of why it is so important.

You can still use the manual function on the app to record where you have been recently, and scan in using QR codes going forward.

A reminder too, for businesses – please have a QR code displayed so your customers can be traced quickly if required.

"Our contact tracing team will be getting in touch with anyone identified as being a contact of this case. Please be responsive if you are contacted – return the call.

"This case is a wake-up call against any complacency that may have set in.

"We cannot afford to let this virus spread.

"We have seen how quickly it can lead to a wider resurgence in communities overseas. Places that have had COVID-19 under control have seen flare-ups and gone back into a full lockdown.

"We are working to not let that happen here. We’ve done this before and we can do it again," Dr Bloomfield said.


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