New lockdown restrictions in place following Auckland community cases
From the Prime Minister:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Cabinet has decided that from 11.59pm tonight Auckland will move to alert level 3 for three days until midnight Wednesday.
The rest of the country will move to level 2 for the same period. This will be reviewed every 24 hours.
A mother, father and daughter are the three new Covid-19 community cases in Auckland.
The three new cases all belong to a single household in Papatoetoe.
The mother works at LSG Skychefs which services planes at the airport, the father is self-employed and the daughter goes to Papatoetoe High School. Here's what we know about the cases.
A reminder of what alert level 2 involves:
Schools and businesses remain open, but people are encouraged to take up alternative ways of working if possible, Ardern said.
People are encouraged to practice good hygiene, keep track of where they have been and stay home if they are unwell.
People are asked to stay 2 metres from others in public and in retail stores and 1 metre in most other places like workplaces, cafes, restaurants and gyms.
Masks are mandatory on public transport and encouraged where physical distancing isn't possible. Gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are limited to 100 people.
People in Auckland need to stay home, work from home unless it's not possible, if they go outside maintain 2m distance from others. Children are asked to stay home from school.
At level 3, public venues are closed. Gatherings outside of your bubble are prohibited, with exceptions for funerals and weddings which are limited to 10 people, but Ardern encourages people to postpone these events if possible.
Here's full details from the Ministry of Health:
The Ministry of Health is providing an additional update on today’s three positive community cases.
As we’ve said, they are a mother, father and daughter from one household in South Auckland. There is one other household member who has symptoms but has tested negative. This person will remain under investigation as a close contact.
The three members of the family group who are positive cases have now been transferred to our Auckland quarantine facility. The fourth household member, who has tested negative, will remain at home at under strict isolation and public health supervision.
Genomic sequencing is underway for the first two cases, with results due late this evening. We will provide any update from this on Monday.
Locations of Interest
Updating is ongoing for locations of interest around these cases.
Full details are here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/contact-tracing-covid-19/covid-19-contact-tracing-locations-interest
Regarding some specific locations:
PAPATOETOE HIGH SCHOOL
One of the biggest groups affected by these cases is Papatoetoe High School, where the daughter is a student.
There are around 1,400 students at the school, and it will be closed for learning on Monday and Tuesday.
The daughter’s immediate classmates are being treated as close contacts, as are a small number of teachers.
If you are one of these close contacts – please self-isolate at home and call Healthline to arrange a test and get further advice.
All other students, teachers and members of the school community should also stay home, call Healthline to arrange a test, and stay at home until they return a negative result.
A pop-up testing centre will be set up at Papatoetoe High School from Monday morning.
We’re setting up this centre specifically for students, parents, caregivers and staff. We want to prioritise this group, so it’s important that the public does not attend for testing at the high school.
We understand community concerns however we want to reassure people in South Auckland that we are taking this approach out of an abundance of caution.
Public health officials and other agencies will be working closely with the school community to provide further information, support and pastoral care as required.
LSG SKY CHEFS
The mother in this group works at LSG Sky Chefs in Mangere where she mainly handles laundry.
As we continue to explore all possible sources of transmission for these cases, we will take a particularly close interest in this workplace because of its obvious connections to the border.
It is too soon to rule any source of transmission in, or out.
The father in these cases is self-employed in the building trade. He has been asymptomatic throughout but has now tested positive.
As a result of our case interviews today, we also now know that two family members visited the South Auckland home last Wednesday. These people are regarded as close contacts – they are in isolation, have been tested and their results are back as negative.
We are continuing to identify locations of interest for two of the cases who visited Taranaki 6 – 8 February, before they knew they were symptomatic. A range of locations are now available on our website.
People who were in Taranaki at that time should check the list, but please be aware that there may be different areas of response required. For instance, if you attended a confined space such as a museum at the same time as a case, this is a different scenario to being in a very large public space such as a national park.
As a result of case interviews, we’re also now aware that two other people travelled in the car to Taranaki with the two positive cases.
We know who these close contacts are – they are in isolation and have been tested. Again, their results are negative which is encouraging.
A MESSAGE FOR NEW ZEALANDERS
“This evening, I want to speak to the rest of New Zealand, as well as the people of South Auckland,” said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
“It’s more important than ever that everyone around the country remains vigilant. If you wonder what you can do in this situation, and whether it will make a difference – the answer is, it does.
“If you feel unwell, please call Healthline and arrange to get a test.
“Please, keep up the mahi with the hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquettes we’re continuing to reinforce.
“Please, keep up with the Contact Tracer App, turn on Bluetooth and scan, scan, scan.
“There’s been a huge amount of work around these cases already today and there will be people in the public health response and elsewhere working into the night.
“But the health system can’t do it alone. It’s our “together” which will make the real difference.”